Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Plugz-Electrify Me and Better Luck

The Plugz were notable for being the first Mexican-American punk band as well as one of the first punk acts to emerge in Los Angeles in the late 1970’s. Fronted by the talented Tito Larriva, the band fused a traditional rock sound with a punk sense of irreverence as well as a noticeable Hispanic flavor. The fact that the Plugz music has been out of print for over fifteen years borders on a criminal offense (Rhino, are you listening?). The band’s first album “Electrify Me” was released in 1979 and was one of the first self-released punk LPs in the U.S. The title track gets my vote for Best Punk Ballad Ever, and the tracks “Wordless” and “Mindless Contentment” hold up as solid first wave punk tunes. Their next LP, “Better Luck” was released in 1981 and saw the band moving towards roots rock territory (check out this video from around that time-it shows the band in prime-rocking form, playing an unreleased tune called “Elizabeth”). Sorry to alienate the hardcore punk fans, but in this case it seems to have been a good move musically-the Plugz were even better at playing honest rock n’ roll than they were at playing punk. Of special note are the zany “El Clavo Y La Cruz”, the hard rockn’ “In the Wait” and the Chris Isaak-like numbers "Achin’” and "Shifting Heart" In the mid-eighties the band morphed into Cruzados, a straight up rock band that released one album before splitting in 1990.

If all of this doesn’t sate your Plugz needs, drop a few dollars and buy the Repo Man soundtrack CD (available on Amazon). It was put together by Larriva, and features two Plugz songs not found anywhere else.

Electrify Me

1. A Gain - A Loss

2. The Cause

3. Electrify Me

4. Satisfied Die

5. La Bamba

6. Adolescent

7. Braintime


9. Let Go

10. Infection

11. Berserktown

12. Revolution

13. Mindless Contentment

Better Luck

1. Better Luck

2. Red Eye #9

3. Achin'

4. American

5. In The Wait

6. El Clavo Y La Cruz

7. Blue Sofa

8. Touch For Cash

9. Gas Line

10. Cesar's Song

11. Shifting Heart

12. No Love


Friday, February 26, 2010

Croatan-Wrong Hole, Dumbass! And Separation Anxiety 7”s

Croatan is a weird two-piece punk/metal act from Cincinnati, Ohio. A husband and wife team, the band has released a couple of full-length albums (several of which are available on itunes), but most of their 7” records are out of print. These are my two favorites. “Wrong Hole, Dumbass!” was released in 1996 on Satan’s Pimp Records. “Separation Anxiety” (released in 1998 on GOD Inc. Records) is particularly good, with the ripping, haunting song “Split the Image” paired with a brilliant metalish cover of the Devo classic “Jocko Homo”. They cheated a bit on the record by overdubbing a bass track (when they play live it’s just Mark on drums and Jenny on guitar/vocals), but I think we can forgive them for that. The band maintains an extensive website with a lot of good information.

1. Up Your Butt and Out the Door
2. She Said “Asshole”
3. Split the Image
4. Jocko Homo


Friday, February 5, 2010

Three Liter Hit-My Life Before The Accident Cassette

I saw Three Liter Hit play at the Magic Bean coffee shop in Springfield in the mid-1990’s. They played punk/alt. rock with a goofy abandon, and I picked a copy of their professionally recorded tape, which became a favorite of mine. Coming out of Wisconsin, the band was apparently something of a local legend. This 1994 release features upbeat, unpredictable songs with some very thoughtful lyric courtesy of frontman Keith Killoren, who later went on to play with the bands Budapest One and the Drams. Keyboard player Nate gave their music some interesting texture by performing some low-key ballads to go along with the more up-beat stuff. A truly obscure band that is very much worth checking out.

1. The Luxurious Alcoholic
2. Rendezvous with a Chambermaid
3. Sinsemilla
4. Rock and Roll Loser
5. After-School Special
6. No Smoking Policy
7. The Altruist
8. Pocketful of Shankers
9. Suddenly, It’s Raining
10. Nate’s Mic Check
11. My Life Before the Accident
12. Whirling Dervish
13. You May Be Right


Friday, January 22, 2010

The Clash-Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg Bootleg CD

I’ve never been as much of a fan of the Clash as lots of my friends are. In my opinion, they had two truly memorable albums. The first was their self-titled debut LP, which has been accurately described as sounding like the Sex Pistols with talent. The second was Combat Rock, the final album recorded with the band’s original lineup. It was one of the first punk records I bought, and it’s always held a special place in my musical heart. Most people are familiar with “Rock the Casbah” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go”, but the some of the lesser-known tracks like “Straight to Hell” display the band’s more offbeat and experimental nature in a compelling way.

I only recently became aware that before the album was released, a much different version had been produced. The band’s guitar player Mick Jones was originally given the responsibility of mixing and sequencing the album, then know under the working title of “Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg”. The rest of the band was dissatisfied with Jones’ mix, and vocalist Joe Strummer stepped in to do a re-mix (Jones was sacked from the band shortly thereafter). The original mix is much longer than the final cut, and was originally meant to cover two LPs. It contains five songs not on Combat Rock (a couple of which are pretty good), and is missing one song (“Overpowered by Funk”). Even the songs that were included in the final product are subtly different here-often longer, with more prominent sound effects, and sometimes with different lead vocal tracks. Strummer did a good job with the remix; Combat Rock is overall a stronger, more concise album that the earlier version presented here. But fans of the album should give this a listen. It presents an interesting alternate take on one of the great albums of period.

1. The Beautiful People Are Ugly Too
2. Kill Time
3. Should I Stay or Should I Go
4. Rock the Casbah
5. Know Your Rights
6. Red Angel Dragnet
7. Ghetto Defendant
8. Sean Flynn
9. Car Jamming
10. Inoculated City
11. Death Is a Star
12. Walk Evil Talk
13. Atom Tan
14. First Night Back in London
15. Cool Confusion
16. Straight to Hell


Friday, January 8, 2010

Inspector Luv And The Rideme Babys-Another World 7”

Inspector Luv and the Rideme Babys were an obscure garage/groove band that played around the Pacific Northwest in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I found this record in a used music shop around 1991, and I've always liked it. Released on Aroma Records (based in Tacoma, Washington) in 1989, the 7” has a slow, rough sound, and a talented vocalist who at times does a spot-on impression of Iggy Pop. Some members of this band later went on to form Green Apple Quick Step, a moderately successful 90's grunge band.

1. Soulstep
2. Sea Monkeys
3. Another World
4. Eleventeen


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Uniform Choice-Screaming For Change

I’ve always thought of Screaming For Change as being the album that Minor Threat forgot to record. Maybe I should back up here and mention that I generally hate straight edge music. Most of the big acts of the genre (7 Seconds, Youth of Today, Earth Crisis, etc.) do absolutely nothing for me. I guess the reason I can tolerate Uniform Choice is that they are so faithful in their imitation of the one truly great straight edge band, the aforementioned Minor Threat. The only real difference would be a slightly more metal sound, and the fact that the anti-drug and alcohol lyrics are even more preachy and judgmental than Ian MacKaye’s (not that that’s a completely bad thing-“No Thanks” is probably the most powerful anti-alcohol statement I’ve ever heard). Hailing from Orange County, CA, the band released this album in 1986, then disbanded, reuniting in 1988 to release “Staring Into the Sun”, a wrenched hairspray metal album. They mercifully folded shortly after that, and we would do well to remember them in their initial glory.

1. Use Your Head
2. My Own Mind
3. Straight And Alert
4. Build To Break
5. Scream To Say
6. Once I Cry
7. Sometimes
8. Screaming For Change
9. No Thanks
10. A Choice
11. Big Man, Small Mind
12. Don't Quit
13. In Time
14. Silenced

Update: Once again I am forced to remove a download link because the release in question has become available legitimately. You can now by the Uniform Choice CD through Amazon.
So spend a few bucks and help out the band.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Whole Sick Crew-Demo CD-R

The Whole Sick Crew was a sadly short-lived St. Louis-based acoustic pirate band. From what I can gather this was actually a brief musical fad in some towns, but this band was the only act to play the genre around these land-locked parts. They released this demo recording in 2003 before breaking up. It’s worth downloading just to hear “The Effigy Song”, a perfect mix of dour lyrics regarding crime and punishment along with a jaunty rhythm powered by a memorable violin reframe. The other tracks follow with similar tales of mutiny, sex, and revenge. Some of the members of this band later helped start Rats and People, an ongoing musical project that creates soundtracks for old public domain silent films.

1. Honest Sailor
2. Crimes At Sea
3. The Effigy Song
4. O'Keene The Mean
5. Girl At Every Port
6. The Slow Song
7. Captain Samson's Song
8. The Vomits


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wingnut Supreme-F96

I booked Wingnut Supreme at a show opening for Earth Crisis in 1998. I’d never heard them before, but I was impressed with their ridiculously low tuning and harsh, mid-tempo hardcore sound. I bought a copy of their CD, F96, which became a favorite of mine (one of my old bands used to cover their song “Megatron”). Details on this band are hard to come by. They apparently got started playing in southern Louisiana, then moved to Los Angeles to try to make it big. As far as I can tell, this CD issued in 1998 by T.O.N. Records was their only official release. The band had a truly unique sound, and it’s a shame they never got further as an act. It’s worth checking out their MySpace page; while short on details, it does have some songs from an even more obscure release called "Hardhead" (perhaps a demo tape?).

1. Daily Drug
2. Virtual Primer
3. Gov'ner
4. Megatron
5. Kingfish '88
6. Cinema
7. Drain the Power
8. Van Nuys Mardi Gras
9. Status Quo
10. Dead Tradition
11. Bagasse


Friday, November 13, 2009

The Trashwomen-Lust 7” and Spend The Night With The Trashwomen LP

The Trashwomen were an all-female surf/punk act based in San Francisco in the 90’s. They alternated between instrumental surf numbers and punky garage rock songs with raunchy lyrics. Frontwoman Elka Zolot was a hell of a guitar player, and she pulls of some tricky surf playing with ease. They released three 7” records and two LPs during their existence as a band (as well as a live album). The download includes “Lust”, their first 7”, as well as “Spend the Night With the Trashwomen”, their first LP. The records were released in 1992 and 1993 respectively.

Lust 7”

1. Aphrodisia
2. Cat Walk
3. Dragula
4. Surf Creature

Spend the Night With the Trashwomen LP

1. Marguya
2. Perversion
3. Daddy Love
4. Peter Gunn
5. Dates On Me
6. Nightmare At The Drag
7. Sling Rave Curvette
8. Space Needle
9. Justine
10. Quasimoto
11. Cum On Baby
12. I'm Trash


Friday, October 30, 2009

The Kill-A-Watts-Seven Inches Of Rock

I love the internet. Back in the day if you wanted to release a bootleg you had to have your master tape taken to acetate, then send it off to a pressing plant. You’d have to pay to have all of the vinyl pressed, and then figure out a way to move all of the product so you could make your money back. Nowadays, if there’s some unreleased music you want to get out to the masses, you just do a blog post. The Kill-A-Watts were a kickass garage/punk band from Wisconsin. I booked these guys a show at the Looney Bin back in the late 90’s, and was made into an instant fan. They had a manic, rough garage sound along with strong male/female vocals. Both of their full-length albums (“Electrorock” and “Circuit Breaker Love”) are still in print and well worth having, but I feel they were at their best on the seven-inch format. Unfortunately those are all now out of print, hence the need for this illicit compilation. The Kill-A-Watts broke up in 2004, but two of the members soldiered on for a few years in the Devoesque electronic band The Monitors. You also might want to check out this live clip of the band at their prime-as well as playing great music they had some of the best moves I’ve ever seen.

1. Get Real Wild
2. Won’t Give Me
(from an unreleased demo tape circa 1999)
3. Mutant Brain
4. Treat Me Like A Jerk
(from the Mutant Brain 7” 2000)
5. Dig These Kids
6. Snotty Bastard
(from the “Dig These Kids 7” 2001)
7. Yor A Bor
(from a split 7” with the Catholic Boys 2002)
8. Microwave My Heart
9. The More That I Know You
10. Primitive
(from the “Music For Haters Vol. 4” 7” 2002)
11. Breakn’ Me Up
12. Girl’s Living Dead
13. Let’s Get High Voltage
(from the “Let’s Get High Voltage” 7” 2002)
14. Quit Tryin’
(from the “Then And Now” 7” 2003)


Friday, October 16, 2009

Teddy And The Frat Girls-I Wanna Be A Man 12” EP

This experimental Florida band started out playing under the moniker Sheer Smegma around 1980, and released a 7” entitled “Social Suicide”. For reasons understood only by the band, they changed their name to the less offensive “Teddy and the Frat Girls”, and Alternative Tentacles re-released their EP under that name as a 12” record in 1982. I remember when I first got into punk around 1990 Alternative Tentacles still had this record listed in their mail order catalog, and damn do I wish I’d picked up a copy. It’s a wild ride, with repetitive minimalist music and a screechy female vocalist reciting demented and disgusting lyrics. The record hits its peak on the title track, a scathing and humorous denunciation of the male gender in general. As far as I know, this was the band’s only release. I’d really like to see a “Where are they now” report on these characters.

1. Clubnite
3. Alophen Baby
3. I Wanna Be A Man
4. I Owe It To The Girls
5. The Eggman Don't Cometh


Friday, October 2, 2009

Nomeansno-Wrong CD

I like all of the music I post on my blogs. But there are only a few things that I post that shake me to my very musical soul. The album “Wrong” by Nomeansno is one of those. Released in 1989 by Alternative Tentacles, it perfectly captures a mix of harsh precision playing meshed with disturbingly poetic lyrics. Alternating between head banging and melodic, silly and terrifying, “Wrong” is by far the best release by the eclectic Canadian act. A reissue of the CD was put out in 2005 with two extra tracks. Unfortunately the band got into a dispute with Alternative Tentacles owner Jello Biafra not long afterwards, and their entire A.T. catalog went out of print. I’ve heard rumors of plans to reissue the CD on another label or perhaps re-record the entire thing (!), but until such a time comes I’m proud to post it here.

1. It's Catching Up
2. The Tower
3. Brainless Wonder
4. Tired of Waiting
5. Stocktaking
6. The End of All Things
7. Big Dick
8. Two Lips, Two Lungs and One Tongue
9. Rags and Bones
10. Oh No! Bruno!
11. All Lies
12. Life in Hell
13. I Am Wrong

Update: Seeing that the album is now available as a download on Amazon for the low price of $6.99, I'm removing my download link. Go ahead and pay for it, it's worth it.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Instant Girl-Post-Coital CD

Spitboy was an all-female punk band formed in the early 1990’s in the San Francisco Bay area. They played heavy mid-tempo punk with strong feminist lyrics, and were much respected in the anarchist/crust scene at the time. Personally, I could take ‘em or leave ‘em. After vocalist Adrienne Droogas quit the band in 1995, the other three members continued under the name Instant Girl. They released one CD entitled Post-Coital in 1996 on Allied Records. I think I’m in a minority opinion on this one, but I greatly prefer this stuff to the Spitboy material. It features strong discordant vocals from all three members, and gets surprisingly poppy and eclectic in spots. It also features the type of feminist lyrics typical for riot girl acts at the time, but without the dogmatic preachiness that marred many similar bands. As far as I can tell this CD was their only release, and they broke up shortly afterwards.

1. Bomb Pop
2. Euphemized
3. Blame on the Ass
4. Go Fish
5. American Double Standard
6. Explosives
7. Naked
8. Party
9. Coruscate: She Lacked the Frivolity of Americana
10. Roller Derby
11. Monkey Wrench


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Red Aunts-s/t 7”

The Red Aunts were one of a huge number of riot girl acts to spring up in the U.S. in the 1990’s. For my money, they never outdid their debut 7”, released in 1992 on Hell Yeah Records. It has a much rawer and more garage oriented sound than their later stuff, and some seriously raunchy lyrics. It was repressed a couple of times, but never released on CD and is long out of print.

1. Big Cans
2. Whatever Johnny Wants
3. The Vibrator Song
4. My Old Man Boss


Friday, August 21, 2009

Sick Pleasure-Destroy the Human Race bootleg 7”

I spent years trying to track this sucker down, and it was worth it. These scummy punkers started a band in San Francisco in the early 80’s, and disbanded before releasing anything. Singer Nikki Sikki later joined the band Verbal Abuse (if you listen close, you’ll notice that the song “Verbal Abuse” off their first release is just the song “Sick Pleasure” sped up and with slightly different lyrics), while the other three members picked up a new singer and started the band Code of Honor. Luckily, Sick Pleasure reunited in the studio to record a spilt LP with Code of Honor and a solo 7” in the mid-80’s. This bootleg release was kind of a “best of” for the band, with the first four tracks coming from the split LP, and the last three coming from the 7”. It’s some good mid-tempo scum rock, particularly the title track.

1. Three Seconds of Pleasure
2. Sick Pleasure
3. Herpes Virus 2
4. Dolls Under Control
5. Speed Rules
6. I Want To Burn My Parents
7. Love Song


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Doc Dart –Patricia LP

Doc Dart was the singer in the Crucifucks, a notorious 1980’s punk act from Wisconsin. After that band folded, Dart recorded and released this highly unusual solo record in 1990. It never achieved much popularity, and quickly went out of print, having never even been released on CD. The album is a sonic oddity, combining Dart’s screeching vocals with a musical arrangement that could be likened to early REM. It’s also an intensely personal album, describing the singer’s loneliness, fears, and gradual decent into madness. This has always been one of my favorite “unknown” records. Dart’s brutal lyrical honesty, combined with the ethereal (dare I even say beautiful) arrangements makes for a powerful if somewhat unsettling musical experience.

1. Out My Window
2. Falling
3. The Cathedral
4. Don’t Look In
5. Little Town, Little People
6. Fear Of Abandonment
7. Casket With Flowers
8. Patricia
9. Here For You Now


Monday, July 27, 2009

Fear-WOW Hall, Eugene, Oregon 10/17/82

Fear is a love-em’ or hate-em’ kind of band. Given their right wing, sexist, homophobic, and uber-nationalist lyrics, I can certainly understand the hate-em’ viewpoint. As for me, they’ve always been one of my favorite punk bands. Maybe I just get the joke more than most, or maybe I’m too dense to see that they’re dead serious. At any rate, those who enjoy their music know that Fear was at their best when they were live-the band always sounded more intense than when they were in the studio, and you got to hear frontman Lee Ving doing his hilarious between song banter (the man took audience baiting to a whole new level). This recording from 1982 captures the band in its prime, more than making up for its shaky sound quality. It’s of special note for including two little-heard Fear songs-“Gimme Some Damage”, and the very un-PC “Mengele”.

1.Gimme Some Action
3.No More Nothing
4.Beef Bologna
5.Foreign Policy
6.Gimme Some Damage
8.We Destroy the Family
9.We Got to Get Out of This Place
10.Waiting For the Meat
11.Welcome to the Dust Ward
12.I Don't Care About You
13.Fresh Flesh
14.I Love Livin' in the City
16.Let's Have a War
17.Fuck Christmas


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Terminal City Ricochet

This uber-obscure 107 min. film was made for Canadian TV in 1990. It’s a somewhat heavy-handed satire of pollution and political corruption, most notable for a completely over the top performance by Jello Biafra as the head of the secret police. The soundtrack features several well-known DIY punk acts such as DOA and Nomeansno. It was apparently shown a couple of times on late-night TV around 1990, and then promptly disappeared, never to be released on either VHS or DVD. Given that fact, the high-generation tape copy I’ve posted here is the cleanest one I could find. A technical note: I mastered the sound in AC3 format, and it’s pretty clean. However, QuickTime users probably won’t be able to hear the audio-I’d recommend you download VLC if you have any problems.

Like the Nomeansno album listed above, the fine folks at Alternative Tentacles have brought this obscure item back into print. You can buy the DVD plus the soundtrack CD in a single package here. I've deleted the original download link.