Rebellious Jukebox XLIII: Ruz vs Very Metal


Jeez Louise! Another Lumpy Records release? Okay, let’s do it! I assume Rüz named themselves after Cardiac Arrest singer/bandana enthusiast Rob Ruzicka (not a member of the band), but what do I know about who does what for why? I just listen to records & stuff. The six songs on this new Rüz 45 don’t break any ground, but they’re  probably not supposed to. Blasted through at breakneck speed, they get in, get angry (at cops, disloyalty, everything, etc), then get out. Can you sing along? Nope. Can you tell any of the songs apart? Nope. Does that matter? Nope. The closest they come to an anthem is side two’s Stabbed In The Back, which somehow rises above the cliche of the imagery (seriously, there are like two thousand straightedge songs about getting stabbed in the back) to achieve total fist-pump-run-into-somebody greatness.


Bird-flip-drunkenly-stumble-into-somebody greatness was all Very Metal hoped for, but they succeeded where so many others failed. On their 1996 ep 6 Melodies Of Mayhem (six songs on this record, too, huh? Who says there’s no such thing as progress?), the band tackles glue sniffin’, beer, murder, fuckin’, pretty much everything that made suburban parents afraid of punk rock, though it’s delivered with more of a cartoon-ish wink than a GG Allin handful of bloody poop. Musically it mostly just gets the job done, though occasionally the guitar player busts out some Greg Ginn-ish atonal jazz skronk lines that hint at how much thought is going into this simplistic bashing.


Rüz-Stabbed In The Back


Very Metal live in 1998, after they’d morphed into a slightly less cartoon-ish straight ahead thrash band. Oh well…

Rebellious Jukebox XLII: The Wad vs Dear John

imageNowhere on the new 45 from the Wad does it mention Lumpy & the Dumpers or Lumpy Records or the band’s personnel or recording info or anything. The record merely purports to be a product of WAD MUSIC INC, out of Cooter, MO. Is this Martin’s “Bachman Books?” Sure, why not?


The Wad is all drum machines & cheap keyboards & nasally vocals ranting about jerky people & how they’re jerks. There is nothing to change your life & there is nothing not to love. When people say that some new punk band sounds early 80’s-ish, this is one of the better versions of what they’re talking about. Nothing about the lyrics of the opening cut Ron Is Wrong specifically refer to Ronald Reagan, but hey, none of them specifically DON’T refer to Ronald Reagan either. The other song on side one, Nog Bag, just kind of revels in its own weirdness, then side two’s Atomic (sadly not a Blondie cover) rails against mall culture. Is that even still a thing? Who cares, when the song uses the most ridiculously cartoon-sounding keyboard setting on the whole record?


And now, unfortunately,  I have to break your heart by telling you that very very VERY few bands in the early 80’s actually sounded like the early 80’s that the Wad is sounding like. For every Screamers, there were five hundred more bands that sounded like Dear John. The very notion of playing your own songs & releasing your own records was revolutionary enough; you didn’t have to be that weird to be weird. Dear John fell neatly in with acts like Wreckless Eric, pretty much just straight ahead poppy rock-n-roll that got lumped in with punk because there really wasn’t anywhere else for original music to go. Their two song 1981 45 suffers just a little from thin production (a problem with lots of power pop stuff of the era), but the songs are solid, with Frustrated Conversation ranking right up there with anything by Midwest power pop greats like Off Broadway. Available very briefly in 1981, the record saw a wider issue a few years back, courtesy of BDR Records. Yeah yeah, conflict of interest, blah blah blah…


Dear John-Frustrated Conversation


And here’s some internet podcast or something that plays a Wad song, amongst tons of other stuff. Fast forward to 31 minutes or so to go straight to the Wad. Or just dig in!

Rebellious Jukebox XLI: Pokey Lafarge vs Skeets Yaney

imagePokey LaFarge? I was seeing that guy back when he was still wearing the clown suit! Was that schtick? Maybe, who cares? Is wearing old timey clothes now a schtick? Maybe,who cares? I forget who it was, but someone amongst the facebook-o-sphere questioned whether they’ve ever heard anybody who says thing like “Oh, all props to that guy for his hustle, I just think blah blah snide comment blah blah old timey joke” ever actually give any props to that guy for his hustle without cutting him down in the second half of that very sentence. It’s easy to be a dick, even when you’re pretending to not be a dick. Cut it out.


On Mr LaFarge’s newest 45, he gives us Goodbye, Barcelona from the latest album, backed by the unreleased Blue Morning Lullaby. Both find him working in the more full band swing mode that he’s moved into, with the a-side being especially horn-heavy. It falls well shy of being a novelty song, though the horns (which I think actually sound more Mexican than Spanish, but what do I know?) & those little clicky-clacky percussion things definitely put it into a set scene piece. It’s a perfectly good song, but almost comes off as a “this is my Spanish-tinged song” exercise. I like the b-side a lot more, a smooth little moody number that seems like it should be sung in some Golden Age Hollywood sad after hours barroom. Conspiracy theorists/Pokey-haters will surely be quick to point out that only two of his old South City Three backing band appear on Goodbye, Barcelona, & none of them play on Blue Morning Lullaby, but conspiracy theorists & Pokey-haters are a sad lot.


I wonder if good old Skeets Yaney had to put up with that kind of bullshit. A featured cowboy singer on KMOX during the 30’s & 40’s, Skeets cut a dozen or so 78’s that are pretty square, but still pretty dang great. They’re billed as “hillbilly” records, but they’re mostly pretty clean & citified, way closer to Eddie Arnold than Dock Boggs. Did the “real” hillbillies call him a sellout for not arriving at the studios in an old wagon or for playing concerts at places that didn’t have dirt floors or for having most of his teeth? Ugh, probably…


Pokey LaFarge-Goodbye, Barcelona


Skeets Yaney-Candy Coated Lies