This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Little duece coupe in your coffeemaker - Summer Driving Pt. 2

Okay, if you get the reference in the subject line, you are an obsessive weirdo like me (and no, I'm not quoting any obscure bands, either). Yes gentle fops and wispy dandies, it's part two of The Kids Are All Dead's summer driving mix, bringing you all the banging beats and rocking riffs that characterize flooring it on a straight away just because. We got it all, cats, from the biggest hits to the most forgotten gems to rarities from somewhat well-known bands. If it sounds good loud as all unholy fuck with the sounds of the highway whipping through your hair and making too much noise to talk, then it belongs on this list. (Feel free to add your own suggestions. I'll probably be doing a bonus track Saturday or some shit.) Being young (but still old enough to buy booze) fucking kicks ass, and sucks to all of you sad saps still clinging to all your old records by The Band in your little warm Boomer cocoon.

Oh, and in case you can't tell, the pictures from this week's updates are all people ghost riding the whip, quite possibly the greatest creation of this generation. On a sidenote, the Motley Crue song has been scientifically proven to sound more awesome each time it's played on a bar jukebox. I'll queue it up five or six times in a row at the Keyhole and rock the fuck out. Hell yeah!

Beastie Boys - Intergalactic:

The Hold Steady - Girls Like Status:

Mojo Nixon - Beer Ain't Drinkin':

Motley Crue - Kickstart My Heart:

Muddy Waters - Got My Mojo Workin':

Randy - Addicts of Communication:

Sleater-Kinney - You're No Rock 'n' Roll Fun:

Sly and the Family Stone - M'Lady:

The Stooges - Loose:

Vince Taylor and His Playboys - Brand New Cadillac:

Sunday, April 29, 2007

It's hot and there's no particular place to go - Summer Driving Pt. 1

Well, thanks to hairspray and automobiles and freon, summer seems to come sooner and sooner every year. Right now, it's just warm enough to drive around with the windows down without worrying about getting so sweaty that you get pitstains before that big date.

Of course, young and sexy thing that I am, free from the crushing responsibilities that come with wrinkles, equity-building, and wondering why comedians have to use so many blue words, I love to roll the windows down, hit the accelerator, and crank the stereo to some killer jams. What does a record dork like me play in the car when he's doing 80 on an access road? All this week, The Kids Are All Dead will be bringing you a metric shit-ton of rad car music. That's right, five days of killer tunes! How could you say no?

So get the sunglasses out, cram your car full of rowdy hooligans, and don't act shy with the volume knob!

Bomb the Music Industry - Ready, Set,...NO!!!:

CSS - Meeting Paris Hilton:

Eddie Cochran - Somethin' Else:

Green Day - Stuart and the Avenue:

Hippos - Irie:

James Brown - Make it Good For Yourself:

Ludacris - Get Back:

Ozzy Osbourne - You Lookin' At Me Lookin' At You:

The Riptides - Machine Gun:

White Stripes - Girl, You Have No Faith in Medicine:

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Clorox Girls - or - the punks are all dancing the Twist!

After Andrea finishes up school, I'm half-seriously considering kidnapping her and dragging her with me to the Northwest. Yeah, it may rain a lot and be full of Gen X neo-hippies, but the Portland-Seattle axis has been churning out some of the best bands in recent memory. The ability to see the Briefs or the Epoxies several times a year sounds like heaven to a superfan such as I. Besides, having to put up with the ubiquitous coffee houses packed to the gills with smelly, would-be intellectuals is a small price to pay for the ability to turn a four hour roadtrip into an opportunity to stalk Joey Shithead.

One of the up and coming groups from the area (yeah, like there hasn't been buzz about them since their self-titled debut, but now that they're signed to BYO, people care) are Portland-by-the-way-of-Oakland's the Clorox Girls. They ditched the area mostly because the Bay Area, while awesome (I mean, c'mon, Operation Ivy, Crimpshrine, JAWBREAKER), is full of Maximumrock'n'roll types, La Policia Del Punk. The types that even Ben Weasel, one of the biggest assholes alive, couldn't stomach for very long. While it can be fun for a while, I imagine hanging around people who did nothing but drink stolen Steel Reserve, listen to Discharge, and bitch about who was and wasn't "pure" would get really annoying really fucking fast.

This is the situation that Justin Maurer and original Clorox Girls drummer Clay found themselves in. So, in order to piss off the crusties, they started playing a glammed up power-pop take on punk rock not unlike the Exploding Hearts, but less garage, more bedroom lo-fi. While their first two releases were spikey bursts of punk pop a la the first few Buzzcocks singles, their new record on BYO, J'aime Les Filles, is a poppier record, as evidenced by killer lead single "Flowers of Evil."

For people who want to put the Zero Boys and T. Rex in a blender together.

Flowers of Evil:

Upper Hand:

Protect You, Girl:

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

John Sellers, Guided By Voices, and weirdo nerd obsessions

When it's lunchtime at work, I turn off my phone, shut my door, turn up my boombox ('cause you know I kick out the jams no matter where I am), and read while eating whatever delicious special the Korean couple in the downstairs deli has whipped up that day. Currently, I'm reading Perfect From Now On, the memoir of one John Sellers - music writer, Donkey Kong champ, and internet whore.

It's an alright book. Nothing too astounding, but I agree with his critical assessments - enough to the point that I read on in the hope that he continues to validate my own tastes. Probably the emotional centerpiece of the whole book is his trip to Dayton to spend the afternoon with champion drinker Robert Pollard, whose band Guided By Voices is the object of Sellers' obsession.

GBV is certainly a band that seems primed for the obsessives to slavishly follow. Most albums clock in at 30 songs, and as Sellers notes, "Pollard is the kind of guy who writes fives songs on the toilet every morning...and three of them are good." While I wouldn't go so far in that assessment (I've always seen Guided by Voices as Pavement with a Paul Weller fixation), they are still a wildly entertaining band with off-kilter lyrics that don't seem to make much sense on paper, but somehow to fit whatever mood you're in. Guess it's the power of the right words mixed with the right music - Underwater Moonlight would be dadaist if it weren't a rock 'n' roll album. Thus, lines like "the hole I dig is bottomless/but nothing else can set me free" become poignant instead of silly. (I still think it's a Simpsons reference. The only hint I'll give is "I have used this time to escape from your jail." I'm guessing Chris nails it before anyone else.)

It's funny the music we obsess over. Despite being a devout fan of the Ramones and the Smiths, my utter devotion to the Replacements is probably the most genuine. I mean, it's a story that's as old as rock'n'roll mythology itself. To wit, drunk, stoned fuckups show up late to gigs, vomit on their own shoes, drop the ball four times on major label money, play better gigs in basements than industry showcases, piss each other about, and generally live and perform in a ramshackle manner, all while crafting some of the best, most touching songs of any genre and of any generation. GBV appeal to the same kind of fan impulse - older dudes (Pollard being an elementary school teacher) put out go-nowhere lo-fi LPs recorded on two-tracks in the basement and were about to throw in the towel when a surprise gig resulted in a flurry of press and industry hype. They ended up putting out a series of critically acclaimed albums (some fuzzier and more in tune with their early basement output and others slicker than an oil patch after a rain storm) before calling it quits in 2004.

I will say that any band that releases an outtakes compilation (as in, not released anywhere else) that runs over 100 songs, you know there's gotta be some chinks, and there are. Despite hitting high after high after high, GBV were plagues by Pollard's insistence of putting loads of material on each release instead of adopting a system of tight quality control like Mission of Burma. That said, they put out some of the best indie rock of the 90's, and the strum-a-Fender-as-fast-as-you-can crop of post-millennial artists took more than one cue from them. They never hit it big, but then again, pioneers are never really meant to. Besides, they had one of their ballads on Scrubs, so you know Zach Braff likes to listen to them while he imagines standing around in the rain looking sad.

For people who are intoxicated in very small rooms.

Game of Pricks:

I Am a Scientist:

Motor Away (single version):

Titus and Strident Wet Nurse:

My Kind of Soldier:

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Mr. T Experience - or - what the fuck is wrong with kids today?

Two big things:

1) My roommate Jon used to game obsessively, especially the football games. I kind of understood it when they had Linkin Park and Nickelback on the soundtrack - meathead rock for meatheads. It really confused me, though, when they started adding bands like Bad Religion, Jawbreaker, the Hives, and the Pixies to the rotation. Since when did people looking for the John Madden seal of approval start enjoying Dali-related films because of the lyrics to "Debaser?" Mr. T Experience's "More Than Toast" was a mystifying choice that falls in the latter category. More on this later.

2) I listen to songs like "Swiss Army Girlfriend" and wonder why no one ever mentions Mr. T Experience as an obvious influence on the glut of pop-punk bands clogging the airwaves today. (Not to denigrate them.) When a band claims their sonic influences don't go back any further than Blink 182 circa their original drummer and the video for "Josie" (which I like despite myself - fuck you, Anna!), it makes me want to crack some skulls over some knees.

I guess what befuddles me the most about the current crop of pop-punk idols (whiffs of 1994 and 1999, anyone?) is that the bands that should be famous aren't, and there's no sense of history. Addressing the first concern, if Panic! at the Dildos or whatever they're called wrote a line as adult and insightful as the Lawrence Arms' "laughin' and cryin' are almost the same/they just show everyone how much attention you're payin'," I will drop dead from the shock. Addressing the second concern, no one acknowledges the true heroes of the genre. Of course, today I watched a video where Good Charlotte covered the Buzzcocks, sacrilege worthy of public hanging. The brigade of idiots with shellacked, shoe polish hair covering one eye has not a clue of whom they're ripping off, akin to the alterna-boom grunge bands not having any idea that they were all basically weaker versions of Husker Du.

Of course, even when the obvious pop-punk heroes are aired out for praise (Buzzcocks, Undertones, Screeching Weasels, and Jawbreaker), some worthy bands still get the short shrift. Such is the fate for Dr. Frank Portman and the revolving door band dubbed the Mr. T Experience. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like most of the big whiny white guys that's are popular steal the hook for their breakout single from the first 17 seconds of MTX's "Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba."

I mean, I guess why I can understand why the band never broke as huge as, say Green Day, whom they came up with on the Gilman St. scene. The songs aren't as sugary and immediately accessible as those who wear US Bombs patches on MTV and declare themselves hardcore, but there's an honest, awkward charm that those ree-tawhds in bandannas could never replicate, even if they spent $100,000 of studio time and invited all their ex-girlfriends to the sessions. Dr. Frank always sings like he's consciously lucky to have a girl into him, and it goes much further in selling songs about muffed communication and girls who just don't get him.

For the rare kid who wants to ditch his "cross my heart and hope i die" t-shirt and shitty haircut and actually see some of the world outside of his myspace.

Swiss Army Girlfriend:

Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba:

Don't Know What I'll Do If You Go:

There's Something Wrong With Me:

Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret:

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Flirtations and making records outside of the Motown ghetto

Ok, so if that title doesn't make me the Don Imus of the blogosphere (ok, I just felt a chill saying such a stupid word), then I figure either 1) my readership is sane enough not to fly off the handle like a bunch of pricks or 2) no one's reading this thing. Lemme wager on the true statement, and I'll be honest - I ain't bettin' on myself.

The Flirtations were the band that coulda shoulda woulda. Like Detroit's phenomenal JJ Barnes, the Flirtations were a great Motown-styled group who should've had monster hit after monster hit, but didn't for inexplicable reasons. (If you think "Chains of Love" shouldn't have been the biggest song of the 60's, you have another thing coming.) Their history is filled with almost-got-it's and near-misses, placing just outside the top 100 and not getting the radio airplay they so richly deserved.

They changed labels a bunch of time, recorded a bunch of killer songs, but still never managed to catch on. Chalk it up to them not having Berry Gordy's machine behind them. For people who hate The Big Chill but thought the soundtrack had potential.

Nothing But a Heartache:

Change My Darkness Into Light:

Davie Allan and the Arrows - or - I didn't know bikers surfed

Chris and I talked about surf music and soundtracks tonight while shooting the shit and pool at Q Balls - mostly how it was a damn shame most people know Dick Dale from Pulp Fiction's intro and Pizza Hut commercials. (We also talked about Wolfenstein 3D and why Hot Fuzz was a fucking great movie, but I digress.) Real surf rock gets kind of a short shrift in the history books, unfortunately - most people just know "Misirlou" and the Beach Boys.

Davie Allan and the Arrows are a group that gets some of that short shrift. While not the technical wizard Dick Dale was (in the genre, only Mike Palm comes close, and he was a punk, so he didn't emphasize it), Allan still was one of the foremost advancers of surf music.

However, thanks to producer/svengali Mike Curb (who founded fuck-you,-artists label Curb), they mostly did soundtracks for grindhouse biker movies like Devil's Angels and Thunder Alley. They still have that reverbed-out-the-ass surf sound that I love, and "Blue's Theme" is one of the most badass songs of the decade. Andrew and I borrow a lot of each other's records, and Devil's Rumble was one of the only ones I ever had a problem getting back. It's too killer for words.

Alright, I'm drunk. I'm going now. You got an update, you bastards; you happy?

Blue's Theme:

Mind Transferral:

Moondawg '65:


Monday, April 16, 2007

Bessie Smith and my own good taste

I've started a new job, one which kicks so much ass that I don't even know how to describe it. Part of it involves my own office (which will soon be adorned with Clash posters and a dartboard) where I can kick out whatever jams I want. It's a nice change of pace from where I normally work, where a lot of the stuff I play gets odd looks from co-workers, especially those that regard pre-war music as some kind of novelty warrenting a smirk. Sorry for thinking Charley Patton is more interesting to listen to than the Fray, you soulless freaks. I'm sure I'll see you bopping to Flock of Seagulls at some shithole would-be TGI Fridays months from now.

Huh, whuzzat? Yeah, that most tenuous of intros was my way of introducing Bessie Smith, one of the best singers of any era of recorded music, regardless of genre. Not too many singers can claim to influence people 70 years after they drop dead, but Bessie's a big bright exception. Less bombastic than Aretha, more seductive than Christina, she had the voice that make drunks cry and prudes lust.

Raised by her sister after her preacher father and housewife mother died, Bessie and her brother busked in Chattanooga to bring some many back home. She joined a travelling troupe at age 20, starting as a dancer because they already had Ma Rainey as a singer (what're the fucking odds?). She set out as her own act in Atlanta (shout outs to the dirty dirty!), hitting it relatively big when Okeh Records came calling in 1923. She ended up becoming one of the most successful recording artists of the day, recording more than 160 sides and finding small roles in Broadway and film (unusual for black woman of the period) before succumbing to injuries suffered in an auto accident. (Waitaminnit, that's how Jack Johnson died. Must be a conspiracy! Call Jesse!)

For anyone with a goddamned soul.

Jailhouse Blues:

Take Me For a Buggy Ride:

After You've Gone:

Careless Love:

Empty Bed Blues:

'Tain;t Nobody's Business If I Do:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Dick Dale and the reverb that birthed a genre

Not many people can claim they invented an entire genre. Joy Division can, as can Ornette Coleman (probably Chuck Berry, too). Guitar virtuoso Dick Dale would also find himself among that list. It isn't often that I find myself attracted to technical wizards, because more often than not they engage in the Guitar Center-wankery common among people who pop raging, mega-huge boners for boring white guys like Steve Vai.

I think it helped Dale was also a great songwriter, one who knew how to meld his six-string pyrotechnics with kickass songcraft instead of aimlessly noodling. He was also a sonic innovator of sorts, working closely with Fender to create bigger and louder amps (he was the first to use the then-flooring 100 watt amplifier), using heavier and heavier strings, playing his guitar upside down without restringing, incorporating Middle Eastern aural themes into rock'n'roll, and probably most important, slathering layer upon layer of reverb onto his recordings to make them sound "wet." All told, he pretty much singlehandedly invented surf rock.

What floors the most about Dick Dale, no matter how many times I listen to him, is how many sensible notes he manages to cram into short songs with ridiculous tempos. He never lets his skill do all the talking, going for bold hooks that instrumentalists of his caliber would shun. He;s also pretty tough, too - not even cancer or a pollution-cause infection that almost cost him his leg could keep him down. Dude's pushing 70, and he's still killing it onstage every night. See him while you have the chance.

Shake 'n' Stomp:

Take It Off:

Hava Nagila:

Mr. Eliminator:

The Victor:

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Atmosphere - or - like a piano being dropped from ten stories up

With every notable new-ish hip-hop producer falling over themselves to work with/remix Fallout Boy ('cause yeah, working with sadsack emo crybabies who wear pounds of makeup is definitely going to secure you that street cred you're so desperately looking to attain - at least Lil' Jon has the fucking good taste to work with the Bad Brains in what is promising to be the greatest song of all time), it's made me more apprecative about what I truly like about quality rap production.

Last time I was in California (way too long ago, you crazy desert rats), the then-new Atmosphere album You Can't Imagine How Fun We're Having was pretty much all we rocked in between Amanda making us listen to Soup Herder or Bowling for Nerf or whatever the fuck they're called. Anyway, I'd been a casual fan of Atmosphere before, but this record was killer front to back, in large part because of Ant's inventive, hooky production. Mixing gospel vocals, pianos, live drums, and strings in songs that were obviously rap platforms but structured like rock songs, he made himself into the underground answer to Kanye West.

Of course, it's not all rad production that gives Atmosphere such a gut impact. If I hear the phrase "introspective thug" applied to the group's MC Slug, I'll scream, but it's pretty accurate. How many rappers would eschew Cristal-laden verses for songs about struggling with alcoholism? How many rappers would send an open letter to an ex-girlfriend saying "you can choke on the blood from the tongues you bit"? (Let's not even get started on the uber-bitter "Fuck You Lucy.") Though at times the emotional presentation sags due to sog, it more often than not perfect for sitting up in bed, drinking a beer, and looking at nothing in particular.

For the teen girl in all of us.

One of a Kind:


Musical Chairs:

Party For the Fight to Write:

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band is cooler than your life

Ever since my return to blogging, I've been focusing mostly on punk music. I realized that if I followed through with my initial plan to write about the Grabass Charlestons or Discharge, it would make me officially the whitest blogger currently operating. Instead, I decided to finally write about the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, some of the coolest cats what ever roamed the planet. If Jon and I were still roommates, this is the shit we'd be rocking nightly while playing Dynasty Warriors and drinking case after case of Stroh's.

When Chris and I get a place in town and Andrea moves up here, in between B-movie marathons and drinking contests (and mad sexin' wit' mah ladee), we're so gonna be jamming some Dirty Dozen. This is total Black Caesar music, good for rocking the house parties and low-key get-together shindigs alike. Any group that starts off as part of a Baptist youth group is either going to be 1) completely awful or 2) ridiculously soulful. Dirty Dozen falls in the latter category without a doubt. Combining jazz and funk in a wholly fun way (say, the Meters or the Famous Flames meets King Curtis' band), this is the kind of music anyone can love. If I heard them in a bar, I would declare them the best bar music since Hank Williams, Sr. It's the fund kind of music that takes you away from your problems for the evening, and makes you forget that you have to pay the bills and get up tomorrow for work.

For the bad-haircut crew reading this, they were the band that played the brass parts on Modest Mouse's Good News For People Who Love Bad News. Happy? Get your groove on.

Dead Dog in the Street:

L'il Liza Jane:

St. James Infirmary:

Unclean Waters:


Monday, April 09, 2007

The Dubliners - or - shitkicking melancholy

Saw The Wind That Shakes the Barley late last night with the other art house lurkers. I wish it had captions since I couldn't understand maybe a fifth of the dialogue (imagine a movie populated almost entirely by more erudite versions of Mickey from Snatch), and having a working knowledge of the Irish rebellion/revolution helps, but I still enjoyed it, though I wish the climax had more of a Breaker Morant feel to it. ("Shoot straight, you bastards, and don't make a mess of it!")

Anyway, the nerd film critic in me aside (like I hold a candle to Chris), it was a touching portrait of the Irish, at least to an Anglo-as-fuck American 90 years removed. I've always found the Irish to be one of the most eminently likable people on the planet. Colin Farrel aside, I can't think of much that they've foisted upon Western culture than I didn't like.

One my favorite foistings is the band that inspired one of my favorite bands, the Pogues. The Dubliners were the real deal, kids. If you've ever been with me to Auld Sheeban's and wondered what the fuck requests I were yelling at the bands, the Dubliners are to blame. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't know about "The Rocky Road to Dublin." While easy-to-swallow bands like the Clancy Brothers were winning over the New York folk scene with their clean sweaters and bland harmonies, the Dubliners were the bearded, hard-drinking alternative for people who enjoy beer more than food - check out their classic, More of the Hard Stuff.

They're still knocking around with varying line-ups, but as is almost the case, the vintage recordings are the place to go. This is what Shane MacGowan was rockin' between the Sex Pistols and speed binges.

Beer, Beer, Beer:

Mountain Dew:

Parcel of Rogues:

Rocky Road to Dublin:

Tim Finnegan's Wake:

Wild Rover:

Paul Westerberg gets a free pass for life

Yeah, he's a bit past his hayday, but Paul Westerberg will now and forever get a free pass from me for anything he wants to do and any way he wants to do it. Attention aspiring songwriters and mawkish I-don't-give-a-fucks: you will never ever be as cool as Paul Westerberg, nor will you ever write a song as good as "If Only You Were Lonely." Please return to your basements and keep woodshedding. Thanks.

For those of you who live under rocks and think Nickelback is better than Nirvana (fuck is wrong with you?), he started off as the too-drunk-to-fuck leader of one of the single greatest rock bands ever, the Replacements. Even though the 'Mats kinda spiraled after they kicked out lead guitarist Bob Stinson (coke makes you do nutty things, kids...s'why it's so cool), they still managed a slew of rad songs. After they broke up, he struck off for the solo career thing. Two songs on the Singles soundtrack later, he had a contract with Reprise that went nowhere. I mean, c'mon, how was "Stain Yer Blood" not a HUGE hit in the era of flannel and that cuckoo mixture of practiced indifference and misguided idealism?

Anyway, dude won't be playing for about another year. He severely hurt his hand with a screwdriver or something, and playing guitar is about 12 loooooong months away. The world needs Westerberg. Dude is Alex Chilton and Bob Dylan all in one. Dude's written some of the best rock songs ever, and therefore me (and hopefully you) will be around for whatever music he decides to foist upon the American public. Cheers, bucko!

Waiting For Somebody:

World Class Fad:

Stain Yer Blood:

The Best Thing That Never Happened:

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Stones Roses - or - the parade of assholes continues

For whatever reason, I've lately been listening to music done with a genuine fuck-you attitude. Dunno why, although I could hazard a guess, it wouldn't make a lick of sense to any of you out there in readerland.

In that vein, I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite bands, one of the few that I obsessively collect, sending off obscene amounts of money to chipped-tooth limeys in exchange for mint 7" singles and odd pressings and *sigh* yes, remixes and extended maxi-singles. Get over it.

They found themselves in the right place at the right time, as their herky-jerky mixture of post-punk and the ringing melodicism of the Byrds jibed right with the rise of the ecstasy scene in Manchester, as teens decided "hey living in this dump sucks, so we can either be mopey like Ian Curtis or take massive amounts of narcotics and have sex with each other." Some choice, huh? Right out the gate, they were snide and arrogant, declaring "you can't tell me anything" to the whole world. A few years later, Oasis would rip them off completely and become huge rock stars.

Their next two singles, "Sally Cinnamon" and "Elephant Stone" found the band moving more towards this weird concoction of classicist Britpop a la mid-period Jam and the lurching beast of the then-burgeoning club music scene, the same wave that would cloud our judgements as Americans and, for a brief moment in history, think it was in any way acceptable to listen to Moby. "Elephant Stone" is one of my favorite songs of all time, and in my sophomore year of college when I was going through a pretty rough patch, I would put it on my flea-market cassette walkman and listen to it on loop while biking through downtown Atlanta, completely oblivious to the world around me, as many of the motorists who almost killed me can attest to.

Their debut record, The Stone Roses, was a masterpiece, one that would-be Brit mavericks often claim to be the best pop record of all time, even in spite of the fact that they have to know about the existence of Accent on Africa. Overexcited potatobreath hack journalists aside, it's a helluva a record, full of both Ian Brown's I'm-better-than-you posturing (the album opens with "I Want to Be Adored" and closes with "I Am the Resurrection") and John Squire's killer guitar leads - check out "Made of Stone," which the shaggy six-stringer said was "like scoring the winning goal in the World Cup...while dressed as Spider-Man...and riding a motorcycle."

A spat with Silvertone kept them from releasing any new music for the next four years, and when they came back with Second Coming, it was coldly received by an extremely fickle British public. I dunno why people continue to shit on it. I mean, it's not a classic, but it's also really good. If you don't believe me, light a bowl and put on "Breaking Into Heaven" (there's a reason the song really kicks off around 4:20). Anyway, afterwards, they did the break-up thing, and a generation of would-be indie schmucks with unimpeachable haircuts continue to plunder their legacy.

You know what I like most about these cats? They were the realest. After a spat with one of the early record companies, they broke into the label head's office, splattered him and his girlfriend in paint before going outside and trashing their cars. Suge Knight would be proud. For record dorks who need killer cruising music.

Tell Me:

Elephant Stone:

Made of Stone:

One Love:

Breaking Into Heaven:

Friday, April 06, 2007

Thank god Off With Their Heads are assholes

So after reading a Razorcake interview in which the bluest of collar punk rockers (they're construction workers when they ain't on the road) Off With Their Heads talked shit about the Lawrence Arms and shooting fireworks at"Sublime dudes" from the roof of a house, all I could think was "thank fuckin' GOD." So many douchebags these days are "keepin' it posi" and glad handing each other that we NEED some assholes to stir up trouble and basically act like juvenile delinquents well into their 30's while rocking so damn hard you feel like your eyes are gonna pop out of your head and that your arms are never gonna stop flailing and the ringing in your ears mixes with the hollering in your throat to the point where you can't tell the two apart anymore.

Every bit as tight and muscular as DOA during their late 70's/early 80's heyday, OWTH play the gritty kind of melodic beardpunk that hasn't been done really all that well since the Dillinger Four put out their first 7" records, all played with the verve and fuck-you gusto of the Replacements on a good bad-night. Minneapolis wins again.

Your Child is Dead:

Five Across the Eyes:

That Must Be Nigel With the Brie:

Thursday, April 05, 2007

"When you're innocent, it just don't pay" - Dead Kennedys, Pt. 3

So I think I smoked 'em today at my job interview. It's for a government contractor that helps train professional response to victims of crime, i.e. rape counsellors, desk-bound police officers, etc. After a string of jobs where I deal with half-wits, devil women, and rich assholes with more money than decency, it seems like I'd be able to go back to being able to look at myself in the mirror at 7 AM.

So, back again for the thrilling conclusion of the Dead Kennedys' epic tale? It's a tragic one, I'll tell you that much, campers.

The beginning of the end starts with the purchase of a Christmas gift. A teenage girl in Los Angeles (why do Californians have to fuck up everything for the rest of us?) bought her brother a copy of Frankenchrist for Christmas. Come the unwrapping frenzy on Dec. 25th, the parents objected to the poster included with the album, HR Giger's "Landscape XX" (check it: One police raid on his home later, Biafra (along with a few other co-defendents, although the owner of the store that actually sold the girl the record wasn't indicted, suspiciously - I'm guessing because the chain store actually had money to hire good lawyers) found himself as the first American facing obscenity charges in court.

There's wide speculation that Biafra and the Kennedys' label Alternative Tentacles were targeted because they were a small, independent operation that could hardly afford a protracted legal battle. They figured he'd pay the $2000 and it would send a message to the Motley Crues of the world. What they didn't count on was that Biafra, ever the mindful/paranoid leftist, feared that buckling would create precedent used to suppress the First Amendment rights of other artists. So, he founded the No More Censorship Defense Fund and plead not guilty.

In the run-up to the trial, Dead Kennedys recorded what would be their final album, the bitter Bedtime for Democracy, which was released in November of '86, months after the band had played their last show. It's a disappointing record in a lot of ways, but it's still got moments of greatness. It's a bit regressive, with the band reverting to their thrashier early days. Other than the metallic sludge of "Cesspools in Eden" and a catchy hook here and there, it's pretty clear that not a whole lot of thought went into the writing or arranging of the album. Hardly the way for a great band to bow out, but it's still better than a lot of the other hardcore being produced around the same time (*cough* the New York scene *cough*).

About a year later, the trial finally went to jury. I imagine it must have been hilarious for a jury made up of soccer moms to have to listen to a line-by-line dissection of Dead Kennedys lyrics as well as look at a huge poster of penises in asses. After a colorful trial (documented in Biafra's spoken word album The High Priest of Harmful Matter), the jury deadlocked 7 to 5 in favor of acquittal, and the judge ruled against charges being refiled.

There's been more courtroom drama, but it's been mostly post-breakup pissing matches that I don't want to get into here, 'cause everyone involved ends up looking like a dickhead. As I like to do, I think I should let the music do most of the talking. And that's that! Tomorrow, I'll go back to doing one-shot updates about bands Razorcake tells me I should like (dammit, even though they seem like pricks, I can't help but love Off With Their Heads!).

Hop With the Jetset:

I Spy:

Cesspools in Eden:

Where Do You Draw the Line?:

Lie Detector:

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"Like the guy who fires blanks at his TV when Kojack's on" - Dead Kennedys, Pt. 2

So has it really been two weeks since I last posted? Right in the midst of a multi-parter, too. Well, Andrea was in town, my choice basically boiled down to 1) write this here blog or 2) have sex four times a day with my girlfriend. Yeah, it was like pitting Steve Austin against a kid with cerebal palsey.

So anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. In May of '81, Dead Kennedys released their ever-controversial single "Too Drunk to Fuck," which was a gloriously vulgar departure from their spaghetti-western agitprop. Ridiculously catchy and oddly danceable (whenever I throw a party, Kathleen insists I play it at least twice and that I dance with her both times), it did surprisingly well on the British charts, which made some people nervous. If it made it to #30 or higher on the charts, they would be obligated to mention the song and invite the band to perform on the highly-rated TV program Top of the Pops. However, the song very conveniently stalled at #31 (oh, the days before SoundScan).

For a follow-up, the band released Plastic Surgery Disasters, a masterpiece. Side A is given over to their meth-tempo minor-key hardcore, highlighted by Peligro's manic pounding and Ray's feedback-laden leads, which together sound for all the world like acid rain hitting a tin roof. Side B is where the true magic is, as the band flexes their considerable musical muscle; Klaus Fluoride's fluid, sinewy bass lines (superbly mixed, I might add) create an undercurrent of danger and dread, over which Ray builds aural monuments to the visions of apocalypse held by every miscreant malcontent who feared given a senile old man access to the nuclear red button. The rage and paranoia and black humor is sharpened to a razor's edge by the full-bore performance of Biafra, who creates moments of tension so palpable you feel like you're at the nadir of a bungee-cord dive. "Riot," with it's give-and-take tempo changes and inferno noise rock, is the obvious highlight, but the enviornmental wasteland balled "Moon Over Marin," the country piss-take of "Winnebago Warrior," and the acid-waltz bridge of "I Am the Owl" are all standouts on an album full of them.

For all its progressive qualities, not even Plastic Surgery Disasters could have prepared the traditionally uptight troglodyte punks who feared change like cavemen feared fire for Frankenchrist, the apex of Dead Kennedys' musical trajectory. Taking then-unheard-of song lengths (5:00+, gasp!) for a punk band, DK slowed the tempos and let the music do as much talking as Biafra's cynical lyrical crosshairs. The twising "Soup is Good Food" makes you feel like you're in a rat maze, while the Old West horns of "MTV Get Off the Air" sound like a six-shooter showdown with the worst thing to happen to music since teenagers acquired some sort of buying power. "At My Job," with its monotonous, mechanical synthesizers really does sound like the time between 4:00 and 5:00 PM when all you can do is think about happy hour and pray the phone doesn't ring. The whole affair reeks of neon signs and frightening urban streets at night and a man lurking in an alley with a switchblade and a society that can't keep going on this way before something really bad happens. I've described it as Led Zeppelin for people who fucking hate Led Zeppelin, but that doesn't really do it justice.

However, Frankenchrist ended up causing more trouble than the av-er-age punk record, and it resulted in Biafra being the first musician being put on trial for obscenity in America, but that's for tomorrow thrilling conclusion. See you then, campers!

Too Drunk to Fuck:

Life Sentence:

Well-Paid Scientist:


I Am the Owl:

Soup is Good Food:

This Could Be Anywhere:

Goons of Hazzard: