Rebellious Jukebox XLIII: Ruz vs Very Metal

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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

https://ruzruzruz.bandcamp.com/

 

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!

http://www.nts.live/shows/hung-drawn-quartered/episodes/hung-drawn-quartered-w-lumpy-records-28th-january-2016

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

Rebellious Jukebox XL: Whoa Thunder vs Lydia’s Trumpet

imageEeep! Sorry it’s been awhile (for anyone who noticed it’s been awhile), but I went on tour & moved & was busy doing other stuff & stuff. I’ve got a big bag of backlog built up, so let’s go!

 

First up, we’ve got a fairly new flexi-disc from Whoah Thunder. This is the vinyl debut (well, more plastic than vinyl, I guess, but still a thing you put on a record player) for the band & the recorded debut of its current lineup of South City St Louis all stars, fronted by reliable power pop provider Brian McClelland. The two songs presented are tightly arranged, very cleanly delivered, & chocked full of hooks. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine hearing these songs in one of those surprisingly good teen movies with the surprisingly good soundtracks that have songs written by, like, the guy from Fountains Of Wayne or the gal from That Dog or whoever. It’s the sound of power pop today, unafraid of synths & electronic touches, but still built on huge harmonies & chunky but catchy guitar hooks.

Early-mid 90’s psychedelic folk-popsters Lydia’s Trumpet weren’t remotely tightly arranged or cleanly delivered, but they still created some wonderfully literate pop gems in their time, four of which are presented on their sole vinyl offering, 1994’s “Valentine” ep, on Faye Records out of Columbia MO (I’ve written about at least one other Faye release, but it was a while ago, you can scroll back through if you want; I’ll wait). Starting the ep with the long mellow title track, about traveling to a small town in Nebraska, sounds like a bad idea, but the band pulls it off, setting up the listener for the crashing dynamics of The Arms Of Dead Men. The time limitations of the 7″ format didn’t allow for any of the full-on psychedelic space jamming that can be found on a couple songs from their earlier “Catalpa” cassette, but side two’s Rocket To Mars manages to squeeze in some cool guitar burbling. Then the last song wonders if Copernicus was worried about whether or not the Church would declare his discoveries heretical. Heady stuff, but never heavy-handed. Just, y’know, that’s the kind of stuff those guys wrote songs about. Fun side note: Lydia’s Trumpet lead guitarist Tim McAvin & Whoah Thunder’s Brian McClelland both spent time in fine St Louis power pop act Tight Pants Syndrome.

 

Whoah Thunder-Hop To It

https://whoathunder.bandcamp.com/track/hop-to-it

 

Lydia’s Trumpet-Rocket To Mars

 

 

Save

Rebellious Jukebox XXXIX: Soda Boys vs The Gentleman Callers

imageAnd back into the garage…

It seems like there’s a big “garage rock resurgence” every five years or so, but that’s pretty much just for people who are looking for something to write about in fancy music magazines. The reality is that there’s never NOT a bunch of garage rock bands kicking through some corner of the underground. Lucky for me, most of them put out records, so I get to write about them in my non-fancy non-magazine.

I used to go see the Gentleman Callers all the time. Featuring 3/4 of the late lamented El Gordo’s Revenge, the GC’s took their high school band’s rawer, thrashier garage punk & slowed it down to a shimmy, trading in the noisy metal guitar solos for bluesier ones, & the pop culture joke lyrics for more basic girl-done-me wrong type stuff. When it worked, it was great, & they were always a blast live. Their sole vinyl offering, 2002’s 3-song 45, is a little more hit-or-miss, though, at least in retrospect. The tempo is a lot slower than I remember it being, & man, these songs are LONG. I almost got a little bored re-listening to this, & again, I used to go see these guys all the time! Trash Dog’s solos are pretty righteous, & Kevin had a pretty good snarl, though, so there’s still plenty to dig for fans of the garage scene.

Soda Boys take a step from the refined side of the garage back into the dirty, oil-stained side. As far as I can tell, all of their songs are about soda and/or fast food, & that fry grease gets all over their tunes. Their just-released debut 45 is a short, fuzzy, entertaining slap in the nuts put out by Total Punk (home to other Rebellious Jukebox-covered artists Black Panties, Cal & the Calories, & Lumpy & the Dumpers!). The two songs blur by in a lo-fi haze, though the clear & confident (even if occasionally iffy-pitched) lead vocals recall the early days of the LA garage punk scene. Angry Samoans come to mind, maybe. The current garage scene seems to have little or no reverence for them’s what came before, though, & good for them. If you’re drawing from a style of music that pre-dates the Beatles, no sense in studying the past. You’re gonna repeat it anyway, so who cares?

 

Soda Boys-Burgers & Fries

https://sodaboys1.bandcamp.com/track/burgers-and-fries

 

Gentleman Callers-not a song from the 45, but this reminded me why I went & saw ’em a lot (actually, if I really looked, I could probably find myself in this video)

Rebellious Jukebox XXXVIII: Skin Tags/Hardbody vs The Star Death

imageIt’s been a while, sorry. Maybe you should put out a record, huh?

Skin Tags & Hardbody dropped their split 45 just before Christmas, but I’m just now getting my hands on it. Glad I finally did, though, because it’s quite good. Both bands sprouted out of the dearly departed Spelling Bee, but while both have some elements of that band, they end up not really sounding that much like Spelling Bee, or even really that much like each other.

Skin Tags is made up of Mabel Bee on guitar, joined by Lucy Little Big Bangs on bass, & a drummer who I don’t know, but who pretty much kills. The sound is in-the-red loud for the most part, with shouted sloganeering over minute & 1/2 punk nuggets. The continuously twisting guitar lines & drastic tempo changes keep the songs from being a wall of muck, though, & the drumming really keeps everything solid.

Hardbody is helmed by Joseph Bee on drums, joined by two guys I don’t know (but probably should; I don’t know anybody any more). They veer away from conventional song structure almost completely, instead spewing a tightly focused stream of notes, clattering drums, & abruptly disconcerting silences. My first time seeing them, I remarked “Only in St Louis can you call a band “Yowie-esque” & have that mean something.” Hardbody don’t seem to have captured the underlying humor that Yowie have, but they’ve put out a good debut, & they obviously practice like crazy.

Any band in St Louis working the noisier end of personal gender-political art-punk owes a debt to early 2000’s world destroyers the Star Death. I liked the Star Death so much that I bought 1000 copies of their 45 (yes, I’m reviewing another record that I put out, cancel your subscription). The first time I saw them I fell in love with them. They were like the Minutemen, with Blueberry howling & preaching & promising, slashing at her guitar, while Tobi dropped deep funk bass lines that somehow didn’t sound out of place in this noise punk context, & Aleta swung her long blonde hair & never let her face show how hard she was hitting those drums. Their live shows were  glorious events, with forays into chaos matched by passages of startling pure beauty, but I gotta admit that their CDs were a little too overwhelming for me. Given the open-endedness of the studio, they crammed so many ideas into everything that the listener ended up as baffled as they were impressed. I was really happy that they agreed to let me put out a record for them, & I was blown away by the two songs they gave me. Side B’s Song To Save You was a re-recording of an earlier song & had a solidly mid 90’s San Diego guitar underground sound to it, but the unquestioned hit was Femistica. Lyrically it’s pure poetry, musically it’s pure muscle. The Star Death broke up a few years later, & since they all ended up moving away from St Louis, they’ve kinda fallen out of this town’s short memory, which is a shame. For a few years, they were the best thing we had, & they paved the roads that bands like Skin Tags & Hardbody are still walking today.

Skin Tags: We Need To Talk

https://skintags.bandcamp.com/track/we-need-to-talk

Hardbody: Cash For God

https://hardbodystl.bandcamp.com/track/cash-for-god

The Star Death live in Chicago (w/guest sax player): not from the record, but a hint of their power

(…and if you want a Star Death record, paypal five bucks to bertdax@hotmail.com)

Rebellious Jukebox XXXVII: “45 45 45” vs “Roller Skates”

imageEDITOR’S NOTE:

You can totally skip this one if you want. As much as every one of these columns/posts/blarghs here in/on the Rebellious Jukebox have been about me as much as they’ve been about the records I’m writing/musing about, this one takes the cake. I’m going to review two records that I, myself, released. Both feature songs that I, myself, perform on. I’m not even going to critique them; I’m just going to talk about how great they are. And then I’m going to encourage you to buy a copy of the new record. Probably several times. There’s some sappiness in there, too. Seriously, you can totally skip this one…

 

THE COLUMN/POST/BLARGH:

 

The very act of releasing music is vanity…so you might as well have fun with it. I’ve released way too many records & cds (& a few tapes) in this life to think that anything I do matters to anyone in the grand scheme of things. The best that the vast majority (like 99.9999999999999999%)  of us who are putting out records & writing songs & playing shows can hope to ever achieve is to create some tiny little tribe of people who think like us for the duration of that one song. If we can do that then we’ve done our job & the world is an ever so slightly  better place for us being in it. If we can do that while doing something absolutely ridiculous at the same time, though, so much the better.

 

I turned 45 this past October. I am generally not overly concerned with birthdays or ages, but I’m always on the lookout for an opportunity to do something dumb, so I asked a semi-randomly selected group of talented friends &/or current-or-former bandmates &/or people whose music I deeply admire if they’d be into writing & recording 45 second songs for me to put out on a 45, 4 songs on side 4, 5 songs on side 5. A 45/45/45! There are very few, if any, times that I have felt so in love with the St Louis music community than when everybody pretty much immediately said yes. Thanks, dudes! Since I know that the “vinyl resurgence” & Record Store Day have played havoc with pressing plants, I shot for sending the thing off by the end of May for an October release. Ah well, dreams are dreamt to be broken, & a sixteen week turnaround turned into a twenty-four week turnaround & my semi-plan of making people drive out to Washington MO & play songs on John G’s Bier Deck o’erlooking the Missouri with me on a sunny Sunday afternoon came to naught. The thing officially comes out Tuesday Dec 15th, 2015 with a release show at San Loo on Cherokee St, but you can get copies from me if you run into me pretty much anywhere (I again must re-iterate that you can stop reading this at any time).

 

Side 4 kicks off with Carondelet Guy writing a love letter to being drunk & wandering around Carondelet. It’s sentimental but non-judgemental, an honest appreciation of that rough-hewn lifestyle that makes me miss living in Carondelet a lot. Then my band mate & best friend Karen knocks the door down with an Ex-Hex-ian ode to rock-n-roll shows & how that’s sometimes all that matters. Then good ol’ Jason Hutto shows off the kinda techno, kinda sound-collage-y thing that’s he’s been exploring since moving to Houston. It’s cool, though I will dock him half a point for fading in & fading out what’s clearly a longer song in order to fit this record’s time limit conceit. Then Daren Gratton strums his way through the frantic feeling of drinking & dancing against desperation. Man, this record is great!

 

Side 5 starts with 3of5 (Andy from Vanilla Beans’ solo glitch box project) destroying planets with terror & mayhem, then me & my wife cover a Residents song, then Mario Viele tackles the idea that one’s emotions are constantly at war with reality but that good sort of eventually wins if we let it (I don’t actually know what anybody’s songs are actually about), then Googz does a goofy 1920’s style number about turning 45, ancient Roman style, then Cassie Morgan sends us off with a sobering but uplifting song of un-named regret & cautious optimism. Man, this record is great, though it just now occurred to me that I should have made Andy’s song be song three of five on that side. Dammit!

 

Oh man, are you still reading? Okay…

 

Would you believe that that thing I just did isn’t the first short-song-themed 7″ record I’ve released? What is wrong with me? Way the Hell back in 1995, my old band Give Her A Lizard was gearing up to play our last show. We had thrown a skating party with live bands a year prior, & it had gone so well we decided to do that again for our big goodbye (we’ve played a handful of reunion-y shows since then, they’ve been okay). We had always been pretty good at hanging onto our show money to use towards recording & cd pressing & t-shirt making & such, so at the time we were deciding to break up, we actually had a nice little amount of money in the band wallet. Why not release a record featuring songs by us & some of our friends? Record pressing being what it was in those days, the master-to-press time was only six weeks or so, so getting the thing together wasn’t any sort of trouble, even though the Northerns recorded on 1/2 inch reel & we had to get that transferred & it ended up being slightly slow (I couldn’t tell. Oops!). The record was given out free with every paid admission, & anybody who ended up with a copy they don’t want can totally slide ’em my way. I got people.

 

Side “All Skate” opened with Lydia’s Trumpet singing about monkeys & tigers in their own St Louis-ified indie/hippie/stoner Elephant 6-ish way, then Bunnygrunt chimed our way through a song that we had originally recorded for some CD comp that we thought was never going to come out (it eventually did, but not after the folks who were putting it out screwed us on a couple of out-of-town shows, but I digress). Tom Stephens & Tim McAvin (nowadays of Tight Pants Syndrome & Karate Bikini) came next with their mostly recording project only band Crime Squad, doing a song that was intentionally slowed down, as opposed to that Northerns jam (again, oops!), then Darling Little Jackhammer pounded out some pretty palpitating punk pop power to close out the side.

 

Side “Now All Reverse” featured the pleasantly paper-thin pop folk of Mr Pink Jeans, the aforementioned incorrectly sped acoustic mumble punk of the tallest, Fall-est band to ever come out of Columbia Mo, the Northerns (with cow noises!) then ended with what was probably my favorite Give Her A Lizard song, “Villa Roma.” If you lived here, you’d be home now. Man, this record was great!

 

The new jam! Buy it!

http://bertdax.bandcamp.com/album/45-revolutions-per-minute-45-seconds-per-song-a-45th-birthday-45

 

Darling Little Jackhammer live on public access! The 90’s!

 

 

 

Rebellious Jukebox XXXVI: Q vs Never Alone

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When called to testify, as I surely someday will be, I can take comfort in the fact that I can hold up this weathered copy of the Rebellious Jukebox, brittle with age, & present it as evidence that I am not now, nor have I ever been, a punk rocker. I like the punk rock, I buy the punk rock records, & I go to the punk rock shows, but when push comes to mosh, I don’t really know that much about the punk rock & I can’t really argue about what’s the good stuff & what’s the bad stuff, I buy lots of my punk rock records used at record stores instead of mailorder or out of some kid’s distro box, & there are more shows these days than I even KNOW about, let alone have the time to attend.

 

It’s through these slackings-off that I have not seen St Louis punk rockers Q, & don’t even know who is in the band (& if told, I probably won’t know who any of those people are). Still, I bought the record when it came into the Jerk Store. It’s on Lumpy Records, after all, so it was bound to be good/trashy/sort of chaotic. And boom, it is! The five song 45 starts off with some dry heaving grunts & muffled drum pounding, like somebody locked the singer in the galley of a slave barge, & for the rest of the record he’s gonna have to row his way out. Then the distorted bass comes rumbling in, the feedback squeals on, & the record takes off. There are slower parts & there are faster parts, there aren’t any guitar solos getting in the way of things, & the vocals are hoarsely bellowed, yet almost intelligible. It’s a pretty good record. If I had seen them somewhere & they had been as good live as they are in the studio, I would probably have bought a copy from them at the show. If they’re still even a band playing shows. Who knows? Not me! I don’t know anything!

 

This isn’t a new phenomenon, though. As long as I’ve been buying records I’ve been buying records by St Louis bands who I hadn’t seen live & didn’t know anything about. That’s how I bought that great Duck Duck Goose 45 at Streetside (I’ll get around to reviewing it one of these days), & that Barking Aardvarks cassette (if anybody’s digitized that, hook me up), before I was even going to shows on a regular basis. So it’s no wonder I missed out on the existence of Never Alone. I don’t remember ever seeing them on flyers or hearing anyone mention the name. That wouldn’t be THAT surprising, though, if three of the five members hadn’t spent time playing in various incarnations of Ultraman, & everybody knows Ultraman. And so I picked up a copy of their “Hidden” ep when it popped up used at the Jerk Store. Judging the record by the front cover art & the brooding white t-shirted tough guys on the back, I was expecting some boot stompin’ street punk, but the music falls much more to the poppy side of things. In today’s underground it would barely qualify as punk rock, but the boundaries were a little looser when this came out in 1991. That early Soul Asylum stuff was still considered kinda punk, & Husker Du had broadened things a bunch, melodically. This sounds a bit closer to the former than the latter,  though the chugging guitars do definitely keep some punk in there. I kind of wonder what would have happened to them if they had stuck around long enough to cash in on alternative rock’s punk-grab. Who knows? Not me! I don’t know anything!

 

Q-Hqw

https://singlerussiancuties1.bandcamp.com/track/hqw

 

Never Alone-Seasons live on Critical Mass (this version is LOTS more punk rock than the studio version!)

 

 

Rebellious Jukebox XXXV: Black Panties vs Living Things

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It’s Black Panties’ world. We just write about it. With his/their THIRD 45 release of 2015, the mysterious misanthropic masked madman has monopolized the pages of the Rebellious Jukebox & won the hearts & minds of disaffected garage punks the world over. When it comes to Black Panties, all of it’s the best part, from his/their hilariously scorn-filled interview with Vice online to his/their still reliably unreliably volatile live shows, but the BEST best part is that while all of these records sound like Black Panties records, they barely sound like each other. The latest, a four song jammer of almost epic length (like five minutes a side!) veers sharply away from the compellingly plodding doom of last month’s (!) release (see Rebellious Jukebox XXXIV) & delivers the garage-pop hooks that were hidden under the paint-peeling distortion of his/their first record of 2015 (see Rebellious Jukebox XXXII, & yeah, there was a flexi in 2014, too!) with significantly less paint peeling distortion. It’s the first Black Panties record where you don’t have to “get it” to get it. Tip of the hat to the cover & insert artwork, as well, sprung from the creepy brain of former Doom Town-er/current Veil-er (briefly Bunnygrunt-er, conflict of interest alert!) Ashley Hohman, which ups the “professionalism” of this release without losing any of its cesspool charm. And don’t worry. Lyrically, the world that Black Panties sees is still full of shit & there is no future &, basically, fuck you.

As clean & pro as Black Panties could ever intentionally or accidentally get, though, they’ll never ever be as clean & pro as the Living Things. Thank god! If you are or were involved in the St Louis music scene & don’t even remember this band existing, there’s a reason for that. Swept up in the post-Strokes garage rock feeding frenzy of the early 00’s, the band got a big time record deal pretty much out of the blue, got sent on press tours of the UK, & THEN played a series of “hometown” showcases to build some street cred or something, which they then used for some “Yeah, St Louis is so closed minded, we just had to get out of there, man” interview back-story fodder. Musically, the 2005 “advance promo” 45 I’m reviewing here isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s catchy radio-friendly garage rock with a few ear-catching production twists & lyrics that are just vaguely political enough to sound edgy. If some TV show had wanted a band that sounded like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club but didn’t wanna splurge, Living Things would have adequately fit the bill. It’s not terrible, they’re probably not terrible people, but, basically, fuck you.

Black Panties-Future

Living Things-Bom Bom Bom

Bonus: The Black Panties VICE interview

http://noisey.vice.com/en_au/blog/black-panties-has-seen-people-cry-because-they-couldnt-take-guns-into-the-zoo

Rebellious Jukebox XXXIV: Black Panties vs Drunks With Guns

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Dang, St Louis, y’all scared me for a minute. It was looking like nobody was gonna have a record out before the end of the year(except for me, but we’ll awkwardly cross that bridge of interest conflict when we get there). Thankfully, though, the punk rockers came to the rescue again, as Black Panties dropped their second 45 of the year, with more Panties dropping soon. Bring it on, dude!

Released by scuzz-punk powerhouse label of the moment Total Punk, the record is sure to sell out quick, so don’t sleep on getting yourself a copy. The prospect of it incrementally increasing in value ten years from now shouldn’t keep you from listening to the damn thing today, though, as Mr Panties has upped his game significantly since his last record (which was also no slouch, see whichever number Jukebox it was a few months ago where I reviewed it. I paired his take on garage-punk with Bob Kuban’s. It was great. You should go read it. I’ll wait.). Whereas the last one was drowned in tape hiss & distortion, this one is…well…also drowned in tape hiss & distortion, but with some sweetly creepy echoed out vocals (side one’s Prophet Of Hate) & some low-in-the-mix No-Wave keyboard blorts (side two’s Violence). The plodding sludge of side one is also a nice change-up from the usual balls-out assault of most of what I’ve heard on Total Punk. Not that I’ve heard really THAT much. I’m kind of a poseur, do you want your money back? Lyrically, the two songs still wallow in projected disgust & contempt for anyone/anything/anywhere that isn’t Black Panties, so, y’know, there are still some things you can rely on in this world.

For their third (or maybe fifth, depending on how you do the math) record, 1987’s “Alter Human Industrial Fetishisms,” Drunks With Guns continued to forge a path through the most loathsome anger-punk this city had seen up to that point (see whichever Jukebox it was I did a while ago where I matched up their first record with a Lumpy & The Dumpers 45. That one was pretty good, too). Spit out at an uncaring world, the songs are a little more thinly recorded than their first couple records, but that almost makes it creepier, like it was recorded by some guy through an air vent because he was scared to be in the same room with singer Mike Doskocil. The heavy stupidity of the guitar riffs, the completely unhinged screaming, the abrupt starts & stops, & the weird little “it sounds like they were gonna go into another song, but then it just cuts out” thing that happens at the end of Zombie all add up to absolutely un-easy listening. This record is a must-own for anyone who goes to 80’s nostalgia costume parties & loves new-wave throwback weekend on the Point (I don’t know if that’s actually a thing). The 80’s were a terrible terrible time, filled with awful people. Thankfully Drunks With Guns were there to document every hateful moment.

Black Panties-Prophet Of Hate

Drunks With Guns-Zombie

(one of these days, I’ll match somebody up with the later version of this song, when one of the splinter factions of Drunks With Guns re-recorded this with a 12 yr-old girl singing)