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.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rare and underappreciated Morrissey songs. What more could you want?

Yesterday's posting of my beautiful girlfriend and her glorious quiff has inspired me to share something special with you all. Namely, my 12 favorite rare/unreleased/underappreciated Morrissey songs. Everyone knows "Every Day is Like Sunday" is a killer song, but why drive it into the ground? The man has such a rich catalogue that it rewards revisits. Let's examine each of these 12 gems, yes?

A Swallow on My Neck - Classic mid-90's Moz, this is a prime example of the catchy, jangly Britpop he was singing at the time. How often are you going to hear the phrase "foolish, ghoulish, and childish" in a pop song? It's lush and coy, just like the man himself.

Angel, Angel, Down We Go Together - From his debut solo record, Viva Hate. It's one of my favorite songs from that record and an avenue that I had hoped Morrissey had continued. His performances usually have this cinematic quality to them no matter how broad or intimate, and it was a revelation to hear him sing over what was essentially tense film music. I'm still waiting for this chamber quartet record.

Born to Hang - Dunno why this one was left to linger in the demo ghetto, as the hooks seem like they would have been fertile ground for expansion. As such, we're left with a song that is mostly potential, but still catchy and memorable enough to warrant attention. The fact that the vocal on this song is as good as it is is pudding-proof that Mozzer is the real deal.

Heir Apparent - From the Japan-only EP of rare tracks. One of his best b-sides and prescient of the albums he was yet to release.

I Can Have Both - I have no proof of this, but I have a feeling this is evidence that a Morrissey first-take is as good as the 50th.

Lucky Lisp - From the early days of his solo career (if you couldn't tell by the production and synths). This was back when we wasn't putting out albums so much as 3-4 song maxi-singles that combined would have been killer as a set. Also, this song is supposedly about his former songwriting partner and fellow Smith member Johnny Marr. Modest louse?

Michael's Bones - The more I listen to this, the more I'm convinced the narrator is the person who killed Michael and buried him in the soccer field. What do you think?

Our Frank - The last song's weirdness is matched only by "Our Frank," where Morrissey has a snarky conversation with himself and makes fun of his clothes ("your frankly vulgar red pullover"). Despite the oddball lyric (and does the public really pay attention, anyway?), this is the song on today's post that most should have been a hit.

Satan Rejected My Soul - If you can't appreciate his bathos as deliberate and charming and this song doesn't win you over to that camp, you're hopeless.

Spring-Heeled Jim - So Radiohead was a mediocre alt-rock band who had a fluke hit with "Creep" (so goes the critical consensus). Then they released The Bends and won over every critic who's not me and Aaron. They said during the recording sessions for The Bends, they listened to almost nothing but the album this song came from, Vauxhall and I. "Spring-Heeled Jim" sounds like every Radiohead song ever. Coincidence? Only if you're stupid.

Striptease With a Difference - Yeah, the lyric and performance is totally weak, but it sounds so much like the theme song to an 80's cop show that I couldn't help but include it.

Teenage Dad on His Estate - It must really piss off the ruling elite in this country to see a happy poor person. They see some impoverished fellow smiling, and all of a sudden they realize putting in 70 hours a week at the office doesn't mean shit towards their own personal fulfillment. Maybe that's why the Christians in this country (in the public arena) care more about gay dudes touching than they do about helping the poor. Yeah, you can afford a Lexus, but does it mean you laugh at night playing with your kids?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Apparently I am dating some sort of girl Morrissey

Hey kids, can you spot the differences between these two pictures?

Off off off off Broadways

For some reason today I just felt like breaking out the Broadways classic 1998 album, Broken Star. For those of who out there who aren't quite sure who the hell the Broadways are, the simplest way to describe them is "the Lawrence Arms before they were the Lawrence Arms. Also, another dude from Slapstick." Yes, seminal (heh heh, "seminal") Chicago ska-punk vet Brendan Kelly formed a band with hetero lifemate Chris McGooch after the former group ended (and Dan Andriano went on to fame and fortune with the Alkaline Trio), wanting to tap into the raw, poppy-yet-inscrutable punk of Crimpshrine and Jawbreaker, in the process helping build the bridge from Leatherface to Hot Water Music.

It's certainly the most political record any of the participants have ever been involved in - Chris and Brendan are punk rock barstool poets in the Lawrence Arms, and Rob and Dan are in the navel-gazing Honor System. "15 Minutes," one of the single best pop-punk songs ever written. When they get to the end of the bridge before they explode into the raucous outro, "I'M NOT CRAZY JUST FRUSTRATED!" I go nuts every time, screaming along at the top of my lungs. Of course, the personal and polemic get juxtaposed. The morning-after lament "The Kitchen Floor" shares LP space with the strident "Everything I Ever Wanted to Know About Genocide..."and they work together when they could be very jarring opposites.

The band broke up the year Broken Star came out, dispersing amongst a variety of Midwestern groups. In 2000, Asian Man Records put out the rarities comp, Broken Van. If you like any of the bands mentioned in this post, you'd do well to give them a listen.

PS - If you like the coke-fueled insanity that is Gil Thorp, you'd do well to check this out:

15 Minutes:

The Kitchen Floor:

Everything I Ever Wanted to Know About Genocide:

Lake Michigan:

Not Necessarily News:

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Awesome weekend!

This weekend was almost too much rad for me to handle. Put in for an apartment with Chris (and soon Andrea) that we're likely going to get. Ran into Matt and Ginger during yet another sweet Run For Cover - big ups to the bands playing Jesus Lizard, Talking Heads, and old Metallica, big downers to the tools playing Youth of Today and David Bowie. Meh, it can't all be good. (Also, big shout out to Matt for the drinks! Too cool, dude!) Today I saw the Nats kick the ass of the Cleveland Indians 3-1. All in all it was a killer weekend.

I'm too lazy to write a real post or rip another 7", so instead I'm going to give you a peek at the new Gogol Bordello album, Super Taranta!, which recent scientific inquiries have proven to be the best thing ever. Seriously. The only way this isn't going to make my top five at the end of the year is if Fugazi gets back together and puts out five LPs. Eugene still sings like a drunk French sailor and the band still plays like the best party band of all time. Andrea and I are going to see them next month.

Dub the Frequencies of Love:

Wanderlust King:

My Strange Uncles From Abroad:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Carbonas, not glue!

So I've got the new Gogol Bordello and New Pornographers albums. I'd post select tracks, but I'm holding out to see if anyone has the new Bad Religion album to trade. All I will tell you is that both fucking SLAY. And for those of you who knock the new BR single, "Honest Goodbye," get the hell out. We don't need you. It kicks ass in its own way, and while that sounds like a pitiful defense, it's killer mid-tempo dynamite in the vein of "All Good Soldiers" and "Faith Alone." You guys are forgetting the cardinal rule, which is "Bad Religion can do no wrong." You know why that's a rule? Because they can't. Why do you ask me about simple shit?

So what was I gonna write about tonight? Ah yes, music from Atlanta's own Carbonas. First time I saw them, it was at one of the infamous Rob's House parties. I recall three things about their set mostly: 1) some dude who looked a lot like Zach de la Rocha kept offering to sell me psychedelics, which I politely decline because I was drunk but not stupid, 2) them rocking way too hard for me to believe, despite being drunk off my ass, and 3) getting drunk with the bassist and telling him I was a "journalist" when in reality I was working for the Petrel at the time.

If you like buzz-spaz punk like the Zero Boys or FYP, this is a band for you. "Blackout" is one of the best punk songs of the 00's, and the other two on the same EP weren't slouchers, either. rad dudes making rad tunes on a rad 7" = my ION makes for your listening pleasure! More zippers, mule!


Inside Out:

Nostalgia Buffs:

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Too bad Jack Handey ain't here

I know I make fun of hipsters here a lot kids.

"Yeah, we fucking know. Considering your tone, we didn't think you liked any bands but the Sonics and Kid Dynamite."

I'm not saying I hate all hipster bands! Just the obviously bullshit ones that think being the next Thurston Moore is just a haircut and weird guitar tuning away!

"So do you like Q and Not U?"

Fuck yes! They made some of my favorite local music in the last couple years!

"Checkmate! They made an admittedly killer first album, a boring second record, and then bowed out with a stupid trend-hopping dance-punk third record."

Now hey. It was influenced by vintage Michael Jackson. Like, pre-kid touching Jackson. Good stuff. Well, Michael's. Power was pretty shitty.

"So why do you stick up for Pitchfork garbage?"

Because of that first record. And their two singles. That one they did, On Play Patterns, was fucking killer. Plus, they did the sleeve photos in the National Gallery of Art, so local pride is exploding from my heart. I think they knew the singles was where people would be really listening, so they put more effort into them than the albums.

"I think you're a homo and should listen to more Kid Dynamite."

Eh, you're probably right.

Ten Thousand Animal Cells:

Soft Pyramids:

Monday, June 18, 2007

Wait a minnit. Pretty boys ain't allowed!

Pretty Boy Thorson and the Falling Angels are lying to us. They tell untruths in both aspects of their name. But, yanno, they're still wildly entertaining, so I guess it's alright. A lot of punk bands are starting to publicly recognize their debt to classic country in terms of approach and lyrical honesty about things like heartships and drinking problems. It's got a ton in common with folk punk, but also with Motorhead and Social Distortion. Think Throwrag, but more awesome.

One time in high school while walking home from school, admiring a car ended up with some Latin dudes giving me a beatdown. The one who talked like Speedy Gonzalez distracted me while the others surrounded me before they proceeded to pummel me, fists and feet crashing down upon my cranium. All this was started by that me staring at tinted windows, which was followed by Speedy's all-too-stereotypical taunts, which was followed by my giving them the finger, which was ultimately followed by me waiting in the hospital to get checked in for a concussion and maybe for someone who could stop my massive facial bleeding.

The point is even the Aztecs got their ass kicked, and Pretty Boy Thorson knows how to kick out the country-punk jams. What more do you want to know? My seven inch series continues.

I Know I Said I Love You:

Things I Should Have Told You Before:

You Can't Win (Don't Try):

Two Steps Across Two Harbors:

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I'll try not to quote the movie

I won't deny it. I'm a vinyl junkie. I love the analog, and not just because it has "anal" in it. Part of the fun is finding completely left field artists that you would never hear otherwise. (I feel the same way about horror movies, which is why I collect such shitty public domain scare flicks - if I don't help preserve this, who will?) While I'm certainly not the Smithsonian and this isn't the archives of Moses Asch beckoning, some of singles and EPs I've purchased simply because of wacky or trashy cover art or off-the-wall song titles. (As soon as I saw that it contained songs called "Space Queers from Pluto" and "Lynyrd Skinhead," I had no other choice but to pay the $1.50 the God's Will EP cost.) For the next however many days, I'm going to rip directly from the vinyl source (via the kickass ION turntable, which I can't recommend enough) and posting about some of the seven inches I own that have yet to take make an appearance in the digital age, be it the rockabilly of today's entry to the contemporary greatness of the Leftovers or Pretty Boy Thorson & the Fallen Angels.

The problem with these obscure artists? I'm going to be reduced to telling stories about my own life in order to fill space. That is to say, instead of hearing scintillating bios of drunken guitarists, you're gonna hear more stories along the line of "I totally tired to stinkfinger this girl that was into Go Sailor, but it wasn't happening." Cool? Cool. Figure the happening music will make up for the lack of verbiage.

Today's entry was part of Tower's collapse. With their huge going-out-of-business sale, I was able to get stuff like this for less than a dollar. God bless America. Bobby Wayne introduced rockabilly to the Northwest, likely influencing the Sonics. His backup band was called the Warriors. Both these facts are unspeakably cool. These four songs are from the seven inch EP "55 Spokane Rockabilly!" JP, if you're reading this, I'm basically making a baldfaced dare to you to play "Sally Ann" next time you play the Quarry House. It's one of the first released rockabilly songs, dude! I'm sure the crowd will go nuts. Besides, "Sally Ann" is written about some jailbait girl he met at a prom he was WORKING. Fuckin' rad.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A quiet evening discussion with No Brass

Despite being yungun's (one bandmember still can't legally buy cigarettes), Virginia Beach's sons No Brass have put out one of the best demos I've heard in long time (well, other than Gaslight Anthem's, but before that? Barren tundra.). If you're a fan of Dillinger Four, Rivethead, Off With Their Heads, Gunmoll, or the Grabass Charlestons, do yourself a favor and download their demo below. It fucking RIPS, especially "Sixers on the Beach," which had me bouncing like a looney in my car while screaming "we're not leaving 'til they're shootin' out the stereos!" for most of the last two weeks.

In the interest of proving not all the under-21 crowd are whiny little brats with shoe polish in their hair, I present a little Q&A for your edification.

What’s your name from? I imagine it has to do with testicles or ska.
It’s a little of both. When we pitched it because we originally played ska/punk, but we couldn’t find any horn players that would play with us. And the whole testicles issue sealed the deal.

Would you rather bite the head off a puppy or a kitten?
Are we talking raw?

Which of your band members’ moms would you fingerbang for a Klondike bar?
There’s not very many people No Brass wouldn’t finger for a Klondike Bar.

Do fat guys make better punk rock? Why or why not?
I don’t know if that’s true but I can say we/they definitely “pull their/our weight”

Why do you think punks do shit “for the kids?” Kids are stupid. They don’t know anything about the world and they buy Hawthorne Heights CDs.
The kids are what keeps it going, that’s why 21+ shows suck so much.

Also, how much more “up” can the punx get?
Were still trying to figure that out, we're not the biggest Casualties/street punk fans.

What’s your favorite Gary Busey movie?
Either Black Sheep or, if it counts, the T.V. show I’m With Busey.

What 40 oz. do you rock the hardest?
Schlitz malt liquor baby.

Have you ever punched a stripper?
Unfortunately none of us are old enough to go to a strip club, but believe you me, once we are it's stripper punching time.

What’s the best lie you ever told?
We tell people we play good music.

Could Jesus heat a burrito so hot that not even he himself could eat it?
I don’t know, but Jesus definitely heats our burrito.

Did you get laid on prom night?
C’mon man, this is No Brass we're talking about… no, no we didn’t.

If you saw a chick with a star tattoo, would this make you want to fuck her less?
No Brass has no standards.

What’s your favorite place to hit a girl?
If she’s pregnant the stomach, if not anywhere you can put a telephone book in front of. Shit, don’t leave a mark, son.

What socially irresponsible rap music do you support?
Anything that supports the degradation of woman and violence between inner city youth. Basically most rap music.

Why do you think people spend $30 on a faux-vintage shirt to give the impression they spent $2 at Goodwill?
Because they want something vintage that doesn’t smell like piss and dust.

Would it be overly cruel to take orphans to abortion clinic protests?
That’s what No Brass calls comedy.

Which group is more of a collection of uptight assholes who shove their business in your face and resort to violence if you don't conform to their strict rules: Al Queda or Earth Crisis fans?
Earth Crisis fans. I mean, that's one of the few bands that you could see where they'd kick your ass just for having a smoke.

Percentage-wise, how metal would you say you were?
666%, brother!

Fuckin' rad is right. Well, what're ya waitin' for, Chester? Get to downloadin'!

Sixers on the Beach:

Arrogance for an Age of Assholes:

Los Flores Del Muertos:

Dressed For Rain in a Flood:

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The black days and the static nights

First off, if you're looking for obscure, rare vintage jams, check out Calling Planet Earth - (I dunno HTML and I refuse to learn). Those dudes just started, but already they're fucking killing it.

Other than that, not a whole lot going on over here at Casa del Muerto Ninos. Honestly just been in the mood for post-work beers and some vintage country tunes. Maybe just missing my Rose of Atlanta Town. Maybe just exhausted from lack of sleep. Maybe just still blown away by the full-on Rednexploitation that was the movie Country Blue. Maybe it's just a growing appreciation for the fact that Merle Haggad is fuckin' BOMB.

Probably tomorrow I'll break out the Leatherface records and the Wychwood beer, but tonight it's High Life and the strains of those working man blues. It happens.

George Jones - Relief (Is Just a Swallow Away):

Hank Williams - Why Should We Try Anymore?:

Johnny Horton - Honky Tonk Man:

Merle Haggard - Skid Row:

Patsy Cline - San Antonio Rose:

Porter Wagoner - I Didn't Mean it That Way:

Webb Pierce - You Scared the Love Right Out of Me:

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Joe Strummer dies but fucking Aerosmith continues to THRIVE

One of the best bits of the Bible is the book of Job, but not for the reason most people think. I'm gonna guess most people have never read it, because every time it comes up in conversation it's about the importance of loyalty to God, even in the face of seemingly cruel and pointless adversity. WRONG. Satan torments Job (with God's permission) and begins to wear him down to the point that Job is sitting in a pile of ashes and pig crap (literally) questioning God while his less-than-with-it friends try to dissuade him from his blasphemy. Finally, towards the end, God comes down, lays the smack down, and basically tells Job to quit jawin' because it is impossible for mortals to understand the ways of an omnipotent creator. Basically, stuff sometimes doesn't make sense to use because we're not God. Whether you're a Christian or not, it's a pretty profound statement on the awe-inspiring world around us and how little we truly comprehend day-to-day.

At least, that's what I hope it is sometimes. 'Cause frankly, I cannot understand why a visionary creator who was in the midst of a second renaissance period was taken from us while the likes of Aerosmith and their ilk continue to sell out arenas despite being boring, pointless hokum. Joe Strummer was a man of the world, one who truly absorbed the music he heard as he travelled the world with the Clash. Some reggae here, some blues there, some afrobeat here, some country there. Shit, the dude wrote a waltz performed by a rock band once, and it SLAYED. Right up until his death, he was writing and performing some of the best rock music extant.

Joe Strummer was a vibrant life force that was one of the rare people that found his true calling in life. He was born to write and play and sing music because despite any perceived limitations he did it better than 'most anyone. He was the living, breathing embodiment of rock music and its place in the kaleidoscope of the whole of music worldwide. If you're not into the Clash, you're hopeless. If you're not into his solo work with the Mescaleros, check out Global A Go-Go, an astounding slab of music. (For those of you who are with it and ARE into Mr. Strummer, I've included two rarities - his very first solo single from wayyyyyyyyyy back in the day and a bootlegged live song from his stint as the lead singer of the Pogues.) He died at 50, and in a world that needs him as much as it ever did, with hordes of self-consciously whiny jacktards more into their hair than their guitars assaulting the airwaves like Duke boys on a stripper virtually nonstop, it seems cruel that he was taken from us. I hate that toothless, preening assholes like Sammy Hagar and Jimmy Buffet live and sell out arenas while Joe lies dead of a freak heart condition. I hope it's just because I can't second-guess the ways of God and why he doesn't aim a couple deserved lightning bolts at well-deserving targets.
Welcome, stranger, to the humble neighborhood. (That he left us with largely barbed-wire Telecaster tracks like "All in a Day" gives me an odd feeling of circular closure, but that makes me sound like some New Age douchebag.)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Jaysis, how many alcoholic bluesmen am I gonna write about?

Whenever I'm having one of those pointless debates that only music nerds are capable of getting angry about ("whaddya MEAN Grant Hart was a better songwriter than Bob Mould?!? Twat!") and someone inevitably asks me what my favorite instrument is, I always tell them the harmonica. Most people say "piano" or "guitar" or if they're huge faggots, "the human voice." Nah, I've always loved the harmonica because it's probably the most expressive instrument ever devised. You can take it with you anywhere, and people can hear it from great distances without much amplification. It evokes a loose, earthy charm - whoever was a harmonica snob?

Certainly one of the best harp blowers that ever lived was Little Walter, a cat that could huff and puff and BLOW your shit down. He was loud, too, introducing a hand-cup method that amplified him enough to be heard over the guitars and drums and to try different pitches and timbres. He also experimented with distortion on purpose, which is pretty effin' cool for the late 40's, if you ask me. Cat managed to drown out Muddy freakin' Waters when he played in the latter's band, so you know he was out there.
'Course, bein' out there usually comes with a price of some kind. In this instance, it was Walters' profound alcoholism and infamously short temper that ended up being the death of him - literally. He died in 1968 of injuries sustained in a fight. However, his wild, unpredictable playing and lifestyle ended up being a huge influence on the rock 'n' roll bands that would follow. He wrote and performed songs that were anything but neat, despite the jazz influence. They smear emotion all over, like someone finger painting over a piece of sheet music. Listen to the man who played a little pocket harmonica louder than a trumpet and ask yourself if he could have done it any other way.

PS - he also played with Tampa Red, a man known mostly around my old apartment as the singer of "I'm Gonna Get High" and "It's Tight Like That," the latter being a song that made Jon and I laugh on and off for FOUR YEARS. There. Some trivia for you.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Beatsteaks in "if you move, I shall be quite injured."

Got a sure to be hilarious interview with one of America's best up-and-coming punk bands, No Brass, coming soon. That should be up soon, if I can stay sober long enough. Speaking of inebriation and rock 'n' roll, going to see the rad JP McDermott and Western Bop kick out the rockabilly and honky tonk jams tonight. It's gonna slay, so come on down and have some Old Rasputin with me. Also, the new Against Me! video is killer. It's anti-war without being some whiny Sheryl Crow Hollywood preach fest. (Sorry for not just embedding it, but youtube is fucked right now for some reason.)

Anyway, on to my main point, which is to say when the fuck did the Beatsteaks comes out with a new record? I've been a big fan of the German group since I saw them back in the summer of 2000 (if you do the math and a little internet digging you'll realize I'm a total whore and went to WARPED TOUR when I was in high school omg wtf). They were the first live band I'd ever deliberately gone to see, and what a show it was. They rocked HARD, just the kind of punk-influenced alt-rock I was listening to at the time. What sent them over the top for me was the absolute showmanship of their frontman, Arnim. He strutted and flailed like Iggy, hurled himself from the top of PA stack, and even broke out a cane and top hat for their lounge-rock cover of Manowar's "Kings of Metal." The high point came when he surfed the crowd on a guitar case while not missing a note.

Despite being on Epitaph, on of the largest indie labels in the country, they never found a real American audience, despite cultivating a sizable following in Europe, a land known for pulsing beats and people with shitty taste in furniture. Hell, their new joint, Limbo Messiah, debuted at #3 on the German charts. It's pretty good, but more than a little different from their previous records. They still have the bracing rockers that are their bread and butter, but the dancey "Meantime" and Jackson 5-esque "She Was Great" are left field tricks that surprisingly work very, very well. Not every experiment on the album hits like those two, but it's better than their disappointing last album, Smack Smash. Still, the best place for noobs to start is either their tour-de-force Living Targets or junk food alt rock classic Launched.

For people who wore out their Foo Fighters CDs.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Band of the Year? Already?

I honestly can't remember the last time I was this excited about a debut album. Not being a British music fan/writer, I'm not prone to the hyperbole that afflicts my stout-swilling counterparts across the pond. As such, I do not make it an NME-esque habit of declaring every single new drug-addled ponce to be the one true savior of gen-yoo-wine rock 'n' roll.

Today, however, I am that giddy twat. The Gaslight Anthem's debut platter, Sink or Swim, has me all a-twitter, and I've played it so much at work that my co-workers are secretly plotting to storm my office with torches and pitchforks once burning me in effigy no longer holds the same thrill it once did. I can't help it. Sink or Swim is all killer no filler, packed with melodic guitar assaults and whiskey-soaked vocals that make me think of nothing so much as it does the Lawrence Arms meets Lucero (with a dash of Darkness on the Edge of Town-era Bruce Springsteen for flavor). "We Came to Dance" might be my song of the year, as the band uses melancholy roots-punk to spin a tale of people finding joy in drinking and dancing to the jukebox, no matter what's going on outside ("and in this unstable arena/of what's left of what's become my America/I'm asking this dance, so come take my hand"). John Fogerty would be proud. Elsewhere, the feisty rockers "Boomboxes and Dictionaries" and "We're Getting a Divorce (You Keep the Diner)" just rock the hell out (the ending of the latter is especially killer).

The epic "I Would'a Called You Woody, Joe" pays tribute to hero worship-worthy Joe Strummer five years after his death - and it STILL socks you right in the gut. Maybe it affects you differently than it does me, but in an age of cunts who ASPIRE to be self-absorbed losers, it made me miss Joe more than ever.

Overall, this album is insanely well-written, played with gusto, and Brian Fallon sings like a man afraid of last call, and it's always perfect, even on the quiet ballad "Navesink Banks." I don't have any MP3s yet (it just came out on the 29th), but the whole thing is streaming up Punknews. It would behoove you to check it out, since this is a band you're going to hear me prattling on and on about for a good long while. Might as well know what he hell I'm blathering on about. Go ahead. Listen to "We Came to Dance" and "1930." I dare you to not listen to the rest of the record after hearing those two numbers.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Only the Soft Boys remain

Oh my god. I think I'm developing The Sleep Madness, the condition that derives from a combination of not sleeping enough and sleeping in places not designed for sleeping, such as the bathroom floor or in the basement on a stack of Rubbermaid crates. Combine this with the fact that I have to get up at 6 to be on time for my gumint (guvmant?) job, and, well, Sleep Madness.

Maybe this is why the Soft Boys are sounding radder than ever lately (even though they always sound killer). The Soft Boys were ostensibly a punk band, but they really just got lumped in with the rest of the "weirdo" music because they came up at the time of New Wave. Leader Robyn Hitchcock (who went on to pen and perform many solo albums, some excellent and some not) was more akin to a hipster Syd Barrett, but minus all the obnoxious hippe O'Leary shit.

1979's Can of Bees is a weird, humorous take on punk and Britrock, featuring many left-field twists and turns that would later reappear in more than a few post-punk records. It's no wonder a young Stephen Malkmus took a listen to this and ran with it.

1980's Underwater Moonlight is generally considered to be their classic release. Any album with "I Wanna Destroy You," simultaneously a yelp of rage and a sardonic piss-take of more serious peers declaring themselves Antichrists and bemoaning career opportunities, is gonna be killer. It's a weird, funny record, full of bizarre non-sequiters and sharp-shifting guitar lines.

Unfortunately, if was their last for a while. The group disbanded, and Hitchcock went off to do solo records and act in mediocre movies. They reunited for 2002's pretty good Nextdoorland, but they broke up again that year, and it doesn't look like they're going to join the plethora of overlooked-in-their-own-time indie rock godfathers in the cash-in reunion craze.

I'd write more, but my bed is calling. Or some shit.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Grandpa's on stage!

Got-DANG is it hard finding pictures of old obscure British punk bands. I should probably just start posting T&A shots in lieu of a bunch of gap-toothed limeys who can't pronounce any word beginning with "h."

Ah, but I digress. After a weekend that involved mildly entertaining b-movies ("Virus," "The Devil Times Five," and the original "House of the Dead" amongst them - "Driller Killer" and "Slashed Dreams" proved too unwatchable for even me to make through) a rain-soaked Nationals game, and most importantly concerts by the Pipettes (who fucking SLAYED) and Spitfires United, I'm in the mood for some fuck-you oi! music. Maybe it was singing "Hooligans" for the first time since high school with the lead singer of All Night Drug Prowling Wolves. There's no real way of knowing (yes the fuck there is).

So what group of old-school soccer hooligans have I chosen to bring to you today? Menace. I actually saw them in concert once. Story behind that.

It starts with a club in west Springfield (happenin' place, it is) called Jaxx. Even for all it's foibles, I miss going to shows at Jaxx. Yeah, it smelled like hesher ass and played host to washed-up hair metal acts with two original members still slogging through "Everybody Wang Chung Tonight" to an audience of enthusiastic tweakers, but they would sometimes host cool bands and even northern Virginia bands, who sometimes got upturned noses in the DC clubs. While now all they do is host has-beens that make Hagar look like Roth and metal bands with names like Abortionator, Mystic Goat Slaughter, and Cryptorium written in completely illegible fonts, they used to host punk bands every now and again.

When Menace were booked to Jaxx, I made it a point to get tickets, even if I thought it was going to be yet another band trading on songs they wrote when they were 18 in a style that had failed to evolve AT ALL in 20 years. Still, every local punk band worth their salt did their best to sign on for this bill. (To the best of my recollection, I Blame Myself Mostly played, although I might be the only human being on the planet who remembers them, including members of the actual band.) It was a long night, one of those punk shows where after around band #5 you start to get bored and wonder how many ashtrays you can throw at the soundman before they throw you out (answer: 1). Still, Max and I stuck it out, which is more than we can say for most of the crowd. The band was late, and it was pushing 1 AM before they even showed up at the club. When they finally came on, there were about 12 people left in the club who weren't employees. And you know what? Despite looking like Oasis' dads, they ROCKED we 12. We all went nuts, singing along to every word of "I Need Nothing" like we were a pack of rabid east enders out for a night on the town back in the day. Everyone ended up storming the stage for their best-known song, "GLC." It was a pure, unadulterated frenzy, and it felt like one-in-a-lifetime things. The bootboys in DC can grimace and roll up their pantcuffs, but I sang "GLC" with my arm around the lead singer of Menace. Top THAT, fuckers!