Rebellious Jukebox LII: Quarter Hour Of Power vs Compliments Of The Chef

IMG_4888Compared to other citys its size, the St Louis punk/indie scene has released ridiculously few 45s over the years. “Oh yeah?!” you’ll say, & name like fifteen records. “Yeah,” I’ll say, ¬†& name like thirty more off the top of my head (give me a few minutes & I’ll name a hundred), & then point out that that’s still not nearly as many as, say, Cincinnati OH or Omaha NE. I don’t know what our deal is. I also don’t know what our obsession is, considering how relatively few 45s we release, with so many of them being 7″ eps with tons of short songs on them, but that I’m kinda into. I’ve released at least two of the stupid things myself (see a previous, totally self-ego-stoking Rebellious Jukebox for more info), & when somebody releases one, I’m first in line to buy it.

 

The grand-ish daddy of the idea belonged to a bunch of high school, or just out, kids in the Wild West days of the early 90’s. An uneasy alliance had formed between the South City punk kids & the West County punk kids, centered around the all ages Mecca Bastille’s in distant suburbia (located in the Barn at Lucerne, as the recorded message listing upcoming shows always proudly proclaimed, even though city kids had no idea what that meant). Bastille’s was one of the few easy to book spots in those dark times for unknown bands & unproven promoters. Payment was fair, crowds were big, the room sounded pretty decent, & Jim the owner never came across as a creepo. Compare that to most any other all ages spaces in St Louis since then. This fertile ground spawned a ton of bands, four of which came together to release Compliments Of The Chef. The record contains no less than THREE songs that St Louis punks of a certain age might consider anthems.

 

Caffeine start off the record with an anti-cop screed, then hit with the fist-pumper shout along Everyone’s A Headcase. Is it LOUD ENOUGH, LOUD ENOUGH, LOUD ENOUGH?! The one guy went on to be in the 90 Day Men (with that other guy from that other West County punk band I wrote about a few Rebellious Jukeboxes ago).

 

Sea Of Heds were (probably?) the youngest band on here, & sound it. Their earnestness makes up for the clumsy chord changes & the out-of-breath singing, though, & I honestly mean that. Sincerity goes a long way with me, especially in dark times.

 

Haymarket were a loud fast crust-lined attack live, & even if some of their power was missed in this recording, their five songs still blur & punch hard, with the fist-pumping shout along Hole Boy (HOLE BOY!!!) being the pick to hit.

 

The Meat Sisters were the hardest working band in the scene, with members going on to numerous noted bands afterward, & their two songs are rock solid, a political ranter followed by St. Louis County (the third of the three anthems, if you’re keeping score), a snide broadside against the very area that was allowing them shows & a chance to find their feet. Can’t argue with a word of it, though, then or now.

 

In the now times, when something at least resembling punk rock seems to be fucking everywhere you look, it’s somehow harder to find a scene. Encapsulated Records is trying to do its part to stake out their space with the release of Quarter Hour Of Power, a fourteen band/fourteen song 7″. Maybe it’s me (it’s TOTALLY me), but even though it’s tons better recorded & the bands are much better musicians, there’s a little bit of spark lacking, compared to the wide eyed innocence of the Compliments crew. Oh well. I still like the record & I like having it. I’m not gonna wax nostalgic over fourteen bands, though, so here’s seven words on each…

 

Bruiser Queen-perfect opening toss-off song for toss-off record

Horror Section-quick wrist chug/clean vocal pop punk

Breakmouth Annie-always great, always under-rated, always killing it

The Haddonfields-were there “whoa-whoas?” probably, I don’t remember

Sink the Bismark-radio ready pop punk ready for radio

Suicide Dive-I have no idea who this is

Chalked Up-I wanted the vocals even MORE growly

Hell Night-noodle noodle chug chug howl howl howl

Braddock-total pro punk, in a good way

Sweat Shoppe-is this Ultraman? ha ha, just kidding

Better Days-every song an invitation to circle pit

Not Waving But Drowning-fast, angry, I thought they broke up

Fister-nice piss-take on their own sludge strengths

Antithought-fuck off? that’s not nice to say

 

Compliments Of The Chef

https://stlpunkarchive.omeka.net/items/show/362

Quarter Hour Of Power

https://encapsulatedrecords.bandcamp.com/album/quarter-hour-of-power

 

 

Rebellious Jukebox LI: Black Panties vs Nineteen

IMG_4878Willfully, aggressively, cockily lo-fi, Black Panties are back with their first 45 in a few years, after deluging us with a ton of releases in a ridiculously short span a few years back (see some previous Rebellious Jukeboxes, where I sing their praises & praise their singes). These two new songs released on lo-fi garage-punk tastemaker label Total Punk aren’t liable to find any new fans for the band, & don’t really break any new ground, & hardly live up to the self-aggrandizingly self-referential lyric sheet, but if you think any of that matters to enjoying the Black Panties experience, you are absolutely missing the point. From the opening cacophonous drum solo on, this is the musical equivalent of your drunk friend running into you at some great basement show, & spilling beer all over your shirt. This is the sound of the best garage-punk being made these days. It doesn’t care, & in its not-caring, it finds transcendence.

 

Those sweet Nineteen kids cared waaaay too much back in the early 00’s, but luckily they never let that get in the way of creating some shit-hot punk rock. They had the chops to contend with the biggest names in the scene back then, & could wear the praise of punk bible Maximum Rock’n’Roll as a badge of honor. With all of their power as a live band, though, & with their constant work & scene-boosting, they left behind an unfortunately slim discography, the full length “Tearing Me Apart” cd & a 2002 split 7″ ep with Kansas City punks Rock Over London. Nineteen’s three songs on the ep are a window into their world. Spastically fluid bass lines, assured guitar power chords interspersed with interesting little lead lines, & no frills frenetic drumming, with hoarsely shouted vocals spouting out surprisingly (for how damn young these dudes were!) insightful political/personal sloganeering. Not to damn Nineteen with faint praise, but they could have been signed to Lookout Records. They could have headlined Warped Tour. They could have…uh, some other thing that would have been totally respectable at the time, but seems kind of embarrassingly quaint in hindsight. Oh well. Fortunately or unfortunately, ¬†Nineteen broke up before the corporate sponsorships & fly-by-night celebrity fans & drug problems that would have inevitably come their way, so luckily for us, these few songs we have to remember them by can stay pure, & in their pureness, we find transcendence.

 

Black Panties-Dirt From The Mop

Some Nineteen, not from the split, but you get the idea…

https://nineteenreunion.bandcamp.com/album/pu-fest-mix