Music-related rants from a self-styled underground music snob/scholar/freak. Topics range from late 1970s punk rock, pre-WWII delta blues, 60s garage punk, wild-ass rhythm & blues, sugar-coated 60s girl group pop, early 80s UK D.I.Y. post-punk, and more. You can comment and be a part of the action! Let a hundred insular record-collector voices bloom!
So it looks like the most popular post in the short history of this blog was the first BANGS single that I put up about a month ago, which warms the cockles of my dark heart. Perhaps we can best that with a related, and even more rare, love offering â€“ an excellent demo version of â€œGetting Out of Handâ€Â, one recorded before their 1980 single, and a bonus photo of the band in miniskirts, stolen right off of the internet from this site. At some point in the near future Iâ€™ll get the 5-song IRS EP up for you as well. Enjoy.
I guess I sort of took a layoff from paying close attention to new bands, lasting roughly four years, from about 1998-2001. When I came roaring back, one of the first bands to catch my attention were a just-springing-out San Francisco band called NUMBERS. Their robotic, off-tempo, patterns; angry, stabbing guitar, and overall metronomic sound was totally intoxicating, and those first few live shows I saw of theirs â€“ usually about 15 minutes each â€“ were totally frigginâ€™ great. As I understand it, they are still a band, but I have not â€œsceneâ€Â nor heard them in about three years, disappointed as I was by their second CD, â€œIn My Mind All The Timeâ€Â. For a short period, though their first record â€œNUMBERS LIFEâ€Â was, in fact, my life. It holds up to this day, and then some. See if you agree by downloading the tracks below.
1984 in England. I get flashbacks to The Jesus & Mary Chain, The Smiths, The Cocteau Twins and even â€œRed Lorry Yellow Lorryâ€Â and â€œHalf Man Half Biscuitâ€Â. What about you? Under the indie radar and pretty much unknown in the US were a British act called THE SID PRESLEY EXPERIENCE, named after three dead rock music icons. They were a loud-ass, short-lived British group who, on their first of only two singles, produced a hot, panic-filled “Batman”-like TV theme instrumental A-side called â€œPublic Enemy Number Oneâ€Â, matched with an angry, sneering original on the flip called â€œHup Two Three Fourâ€Â. It was produced & engineered to be bleeding way, way, way into the red, and if memory serves me, it was released both as a 45 and as a 12â€Â. (I have the former; Iâ€™ll bet the latter is even more damaged-sounding). On their next 45 they took on John Lennonâ€™s â€œCold Turkeyâ€Â and totally nailed it, to the point where thatâ€™s the version I hear in my head during the rare times it pops to mind.
â€œPublic Enemy Number Oneâ€Â was the intro music to a formative 1984-89 radio show on KCSB-FM Santa Barbara during my late teens called â€œStrictly Discoâ€Â, hosted by Eric Stone. Stone has the greatest record collection of punk, garage & indie 45s Iâ€™d ever seen to date, and I still possess a C-90 cassette I got to make of some of his singles that I heard for the first time either at his house or on his show: The Electric Eelsâ€™ â€œAgitatedâ€Â; The Misfitsâ€™ â€œBulletâ€Â; the Naked Raygun â€œBasement Screamsâ€Â EP â€“ and this one. Hopefully itâ€™ll show up on some of your cassettes in the near future, now that you own it â€“ or will when you click the links below.
Detailed Twangâ€™s in need of an mp3-posting breather, so hereâ€™s an ordered list of 100 records to go out & get in the next five minutes. Astute readers will recognize similarities to the Agony Shorthand 100; since publication of that list, thereâ€™ve been a few reshufflings and a couple of substitutions near the bottom. The quality level remains!
1. FLESH EATERS â€“ â€œA Minute To Pray, A Second To Dieâ€Â 2. VELVET UNDERGROUND â€“ â€œThe Velvet Underground and Nicoâ€Â 3. ROLLING STONES â€“ â€œExile on Main Streetâ€Â 4. THE STOOGES â€“ â€œFunhouseâ€Â 5. VARIOUS ARTISTS â€“ â€œYes L.A.â€Â 6. GUN CLUB â€“ â€œFire of Loveâ€Â 7. VELVET UNDERGROUND â€“ â€œWhite Light/White Heatâ€Â 8. DREAM SYNDICATE â€“ â€œThe Days of Wine and Rosesâ€Â 9. BIG STAR â€“ â€œRadio Cityâ€Â 10. THIRTEENTH FLOOR ELEVATORS â€“ â€œEaster Everywhereâ€Â
11. COME â€“ â€œEleven : Elevenâ€Â
12. THE FALL â€“ â€œHex Enduction Hourâ€Â 13. ROLLING STONES â€“ â€œBeggarsâ€™ Banquetâ€Â 14. PERE UBU â€“ â€œThe Modern Danceâ€Â 15. MODERN LOVERS â€“ â€œModern Loversâ€Â 16. THE STOOGES â€“ â€œThe Stoogesâ€Â 17. BLACK FLAG â€“ â€œDamagedâ€Â 18. DIE KREUZEN â€“ â€œDie Kreuzenâ€Â 19. WIRE â€“ â€œPink Flagâ€Â 20. FLESH EATERS â€“ â€œForever Came Todayâ€Â 21. MEAT PUPPETS â€“ â€œIIâ€Â 22. RAMONES â€“ â€œRamonesâ€Â 23. RED CROSS – “Born Innocent” 24. CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & THE MAGIC BAND â€“ â€œTrout Mask Replicaâ€Â 25. VELVET UNDERGROUND â€“ â€œThe Velvet Undergroundâ€Â (3rd) 26. MISSION OF BURMA â€“ â€œVs.â€Â 27. THE FALL â€“ â€œSlatesâ€Â 28. THE CRAMPS â€“ â€œSongs The Lord Taught Usâ€Â 29. NEIL YOUNG â€“ â€œZumaâ€Â 30. GIBSON BROS â€“ â€œBig Pine Boogieâ€Â 31. THE GERMS â€“ â€œ(GI)â€Â 32. SYD BARRETT â€“ â€œThe Madcap Laughsâ€Â 33. SUPERCHARGER â€“ â€œGoes Way Out!â€Â 34. CIRCLE JERKS â€“ â€œGroup Sexâ€Â 35. FLESH EATERS â€“ â€œHard Road to Followâ€Â 36. ROLLING STONES â€“ â€œLet It Bleedâ€Â 37. VELVET UNDERGROUND â€“ â€œLoadedâ€Â 38. NEW YORK DOLLS â€“ â€œNew York Dollsâ€Â 39. DINOSAUR â€“ â€œYouâ€™re Living All Over Meâ€Â 40. MINUTEMEN â€“ â€œDouble Nickels on the Dimeâ€Â 41. JOHN FAHEY â€“ â€œThe Legend Of Blind Joe Deathâ€Â 42. TELEVISION â€“ â€œMarquee Moonâ€Â 43. PINK FLOYD â€“ â€œPiper At The Gates of Dawnâ€Â 44. THE SONICS â€“ â€œHere Are The Sonicsâ€Â 45. FLESH EATERS â€“ â€œNo Questions Askedâ€Â 46. MC5 â€“ â€œKick Out The Jamsâ€Â 47. TALES OF TERROR â€“ â€œTales of Terrorâ€Â 48. WIRE â€“ â€œChairs Missingâ€Â 49. CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & THE MAGIC BAND â€“ â€œSafe As Milkâ€Â 50. ROXY MUSIC â€“ â€œRoxy Musicâ€Â 51. THE STOOGES â€“ â€œRaw Powerâ€Â 52. UNION CARBIDE PRODUCTIONS â€“ â€œIn The Air Tonightâ€Â 53. THE SAINTS â€“ â€œEternally Yoursâ€Â 54. RAMONES â€“ â€œLeave Homeâ€Â 55. CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & THE MAGIC BAND â€“ â€œMirror Manâ€Â 56. NEIL YOUNG â€“ â€œTonightâ€™s The Nightâ€Â 57. X â€“ â€œAspirationsâ€Â 58. MISSION OF BURMA â€“ â€œSignals, Calls and Marchesâ€Â 59. THE FALL â€“ â€œGrostesqueâ€Â 60. HAMPTON GREASE BAND â€“ â€œMusic To Eatâ€Â 61. ROXY MUSIC â€“ â€œFor Your Pleasureâ€Â 62. BIRTHDAY PARTY â€“ â€œJunkyardâ€Â 63. CHEATER SLICKS â€“ â€œWhiskeyâ€Â 64. THE FALL â€“ â€œPerverted By Languageâ€Â 65. THE AVENGERS â€“ â€œThe Avengersâ€Â (White Noise EP) 66. LOVE â€“ â€œForever Changesâ€Â 67. PATTI SMITH GROUP â€“ â€œRadio Ethiopiaâ€Â 68. CAN â€“ â€œTago Magoâ€Â 69. THE KINKS â€“ â€œSomething Elseâ€Â 70. THE GORIES â€“ â€œI Know You Fine, But How You Doinâ€™â€Â 71. JOHNNY THUNDERS & THE HEARTBREAKERS â€“ â€œL.A.M.F.â€Â 72. MINUTEMEN â€“ â€œThe Punch Lineâ€Â 73. JOHN FAHEY â€“ â€œThe Transfiguration of Blind Joe Deathâ€Â 74. THE DONNAS â€“ â€œThe Donnasâ€Â 75. GUIDED BY VOICES â€“ â€œAlien Lanesâ€Â 76. GIANT SAND â€“ â€œGlumâ€Â 77. ROXY MUSIC â€“ â€œCountry Lifeâ€Â 78. WORLD OF POOH â€“ â€œThe Land of Thirstâ€Â 79. THE SCIENTISTS â€“ â€œBlood Red Riverâ€Â 80. VARIOUS ARTISTS â€“ â€œTooth and Nailâ€Â 81. THE CLEAN â€“ â€œBoodle Boodle Boodleâ€Â 82. BRIAN ENO â€“ â€œHere Come The Warm Jetsâ€Â 83. NEIL YOUNG â€“ â€œOn The Beachâ€Â 84. YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS â€“ â€œColossal Youthâ€Â 85. SONIC YOUTH â€“ â€œSisterâ€Â 86. CAN â€“ â€œSoundtracksâ€Â 87. HUSKER DU â€“ â€œEverything Falls Apartâ€Â 88. CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & THE MAGIC BAND â€“ â€œStrictly Personalâ€Â 89. LAZY COWGIRLS – “Tapping The Source” 90. FAITH/VOID â€“ â€œFaith/Voidâ€Â 91. THE KINKS â€“ â€œArthurâ€Â 92. THE BANGLES â€“ â€œThe Bangles EPâ€Â 93. NIGHT KINGS â€“ â€œIncreasing Our Highâ€Â 94. SWELL MAPS â€“ â€œA Trip To Marinevilleâ€Â 95. PUBLIC IMAGE LTD. â€“ â€œMetal Boxâ€Â 96. THE FALL â€“ â€œRoom To Liveâ€Â 97. CLAW HAMMER â€“ â€œClaw Hammerâ€Â 98. HIGH RISE â€“ â€œHigh Rise IIâ€Â 99. NEIL YOUNGâ€“ â€œEverybody Knows This is Nowhereâ€Â 100. STEREOLAB â€“ â€œTransient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcementsâ€Â
This one just floored me when I first heard it, which occurred the same month or so that I bought THE DWARVESâ€™ â€œToolinâ€™ for A Warm Teabagâ€Â, an EP that to this day rivals the first RED CROSS 12â€Â for over-and-done punk rock godhead. I was just getting over the first show of theirs Iâ€™d seen in late 1988, which Iâ€™ll recount for you in a second, but when I got their â€˜88 â€œLick It / Nothingâ€Â single (a UK-only thing on Ubik records), I knew the DWARVES had been total superstars for at least a year following their loud-psych period (represented in the LPs â€œHorror Storiesâ€Â and the earlier SUBURBAN NIGHTMARE record). I may not have been present at the creation, but I hooked on early & rode the violent wave for dear life. This single in particular still totally rules. That the band is still alive more than two decades after their birth is a musical abomination, though I certainly understand payinâ€™ the bills.
Hereâ€™s what I wrote about the band and this era a few years ago:
Among the top 10 rock moments of my life was the first time I saw THE DWARVES in 1988 at San Franciscoâ€™s Covered Wagon Saloon. The band was in full bloom from their transition from horror-splashed 60s-inspired garage band to raging hardcore-inspired 30-seconds-flat punk rock band, but I didnâ€™t know that yet. Expecting a heavy dose of angry, keyboard-driven psychedelia, I instead got a ballistic six song, five minute set with so much crazed misanthropic energy that the small crowd was driven into the nether regions of the club, fleeing singer Blag Jesus with a mixture of terror and shit-eating glee. Jesus would announce the song title (â€œThis oneâ€™s called â€œMotherfuckerâ€Â, or â€œThis oneâ€™s called â€œFuckheadâ€Â), and it was 1,2,3, panic for the next forty-five seconds. The whole band was totally nuts, but from this day forward my favorite Dwarve â€“ nay, my favorite rock and roller â€“ was bassist Salt Peter, who affected the most ridiculous bad-ass leather-jacketed rock poses you could imagine, a combination of the exceptionally effeminate and the Hellâ€™s Angel-style ugly. I canâ€™t do it justice in words, but the memories are strong. Needless to say, I was more than hooked, and I proceeded to attend pretty much every show they played in SF up until about 1991 or so, when they had convincingly passed into mediocrity and self-parody.
The bandâ€™s whole blood/sex/violence shtick was, I maintain, just that: a shtick. Sure, they might have been violent, hateful losers in real life as well, but there was a real tongue-in-cheek spirit and hidden intelligence there that was hard to locate on the surface. When I wrote the band a fan letter the next month, politely enquiring as to where I could find their â€œLuciferâ€™s Crankâ€Â cassette, I received a very friendly, conversational handwritten note back from Blag, patiently explaining their discography and thanking me profusely for my fandom. He then signed off with a â€œPS â€“ Go Fuck Yourselfâ€Â. The next year that amazing â€œToolinâ€™ For a Warm Teabagâ€Â 12â€ÂEP came out, still an absolute high-water mark for screaming, socket-bursting, in the red punk rock music. It approximates that first live show I saw quite well: 6 tracks, about 6 minutes, and every last one of them a killer. Soon thereafter the rest of the world began to find out. When Mudhoney came to town in 1990, a drunken Mark Arm couldnâ€™t stop shouting â€œThe Dwarves! The Dwarves! Fuck you up and get high!â€Â to the crowd throughout his own bandâ€™s set â€“ seems The Dwarves had made their Seattle debut a few days earlier, and secured their Sub Pop deal in the process. They also were playing their best new song since â€œLetâ€™s Get Pregnantâ€Â or â€œSit On My Faceâ€Â â€“ the masterwerk, the uber-genius, the supremely rarified â€œFuck You Up and Get Highâ€Â. Unlike so many of the fake-â€œdangerousâ€Â bands of the era (COWS, HELMET, HOLE, BASTARDS etc.), the 1987-1991 Dwarves stand up tall even today. Iâ€™ll advance the proposition that they successfully took punk rock as far as it had been taken up to that point, and subsequent blaze-punk bands like the Zodiac Killers are only basking in the mid-period Dwarvesâ€™ considerable shadow (good as they are). For reference, I wholeheartedly suggest the 39-track â€œFree Cocaineâ€Â retrospective CD; the out of print â€œToolinâ€™ For Luciferâ€™s Crankâ€Â CD, and the incredible (and incredibly rare) â€œLick It / Nothingâ€Â 45, a thrilling encapsulation of their psych-to-punk transition that finds them right smack in the middle of the operation.
Anyone whoâ€™s heard THE BRENTWOODSâ€™ 1994 LP â€œFun In South Cityâ€Â â€“ and there arenâ€™t many of us, unfortunately â€“ is still trying to get that ringing sound out of their ears & get that leg to stop twitching. I figured it was high time that I posted a few tracks from that album; no full LP from us â€“ what do you think we are, some sorta illegal Rapidsharing site? I wrote a little bit about this on my old blog â€“ so hereâ€™s what was said:
THREE CHEERS FOR THE LOST 1990s â€œOLDIESâ€Â SCENE!….Anyone out there remember a San Francisco Bay Area 1950s teen-sound combo called THE BRENTWOODS, who were active just over a half-decade ago? Their profile was so low, despite an impressive pedigree (Darin and Karen, ex-SUPERCHARGER + an ex-TRASHWOMEN & more), that even those of us who were living here pretty much missed them (I had to order their wildly underpressed LP â€œFun In South Cityâ€Â directly from the band, who lived about 8 miles from my house). I just digitized their entire 1994-98 ouevre minus one single I could never find, and the whole package is quite a hoot. Comprised of five 45s and an LP, the Brentwoods’ work is not for the audiophile nor for the easily annoyed. Their m.o. was flat-out, full-contact dance party rock, with a heavy tilt toward a mongrelized farfisa-drenched garage punk/good-time oldies mix, all recorded more or less live and on cheap equipment to boot. Lots of screams, yelps and hollers, and you certainly have to love the chutzpah of a band that puts its woefully inept female singer (who sounds like she might be about 15) front and center, and then encourages her to yell herself raw.
The band had an inexplicable attachment to their hometown of South San Francisco, a blue-collar suburb with a decaying bowling alley from which the band took their name. A good two thirds of the songs have references that only an upper Peninsula maven could figure out, including many that mention the cryptic â€œBuri Buriâ€Â, which I believe is a So. SF neighborhood & which The Brentwoods have made into a teen dance of their own. Listening to each stomping, screaming 90 second track, itâ€™s clear thereâ€™s really not a lot to figure out here â€“ The Brentwoods were an oldies band, they thoroughly enjoyed going to parties, and they planned to take the USA by storm with dances like â€œThe Bugâ€Â and â€œThe Doofus Stompâ€Â. Another key draw here are the frequent vague jabs made at thin-skinned ex-Supercharger guitarist Greg Lowry and his then-band the RIP OFFS. The LPâ€™s cover art alone is one long cartoon about how the Brentwoods and their fans could easily beat up the Rip Offs (cleverly cloaked as â€œThe Riff-Raffsâ€Â here) in a street fight. If you loved the calculated no-talent genius of SUPERCHARGER, and it would be hard not to, you just might be able to handle this. Now the trick is getting Radio X (Darinâ€™s label) to get back in business, put it together and push it out to the kids. Good luck!
BRENTWOODS : â€œGO LITTLE SPUTNIK / SOUTH CITY SHINGLE & SHAKEâ€Â 45….I professed my undying devotion to this near-mystery mid-90s rave-up party band last year in the pages of Agony Shorthand, and included a veiled whine about the 45 of theirs I was missing. Well what do you know, vocalist Patty up & sent me the one I was missing (autographed!), this after I called her a â€œwoefully ineptâ€Â singer â€œwho sounds like sheâ€™s 15â€Â, She knows and you know I meant it in the very best sense of â€œwoefully ineptâ€Â. The 45 that escaped me is as pepped-up bonkers & go-go-go as their other ones â€“ quick, bursting with energy and teen screams, and recorded so on the cheap that Iâ€™ll bet the sessionâ€™s donut run cost more than the “studio time”. It also includes the bandâ€™s usual array of unfunny but nonetheless charming skits and spoken tomfoolery bookending the two songs. Iâ€™ll take it! Hats off to Patty and her crrrrrrazy 90s shenanigans!
If you visit frequently enough, and download every infrequent dub track I post here (at the rate of about two tracks every three months), then sometime late into 2008 youâ€™re gonna have yourself one hell of a compilation CD. For the first two editions of the Brain-Erasing Dub series, please click here and here. They represent the finest in drop-out, shimmering, echo-filled 70s Jamaican dub. This round Iâ€™ve got one from BLACKBEARDâ€™S ALL-STARS that I procured from the â€œTrojan Dub Raritiesâ€Â 3xCD box set. The only information I can glean on the web about this here gem is that it can be found on said box set â€“ thatâ€™s it. Blackbeard, are you out there? Come home and tell us about yourself. The other is a killer from MORWELL UNLIMITED & KING TUBBY, from the excellent â€œDub Meâ€Â CD on Blood & Fire. Track one, even! The whole CDâ€™s great. More for you in November.
There was this compilation that came out, jeez, I donâ€™t know, I want to say 1987 (?), called â€œIT CAME FROM THE GARAGE IIâ€Â. It was a bunch of Detroit-area garage bands, most of them extremely raw & quite more fulfilling than anyone else at the time who sought to connect 60â€™s raunch with CRAMPS-style lurch-n-roll. Even THE GORIES made their debut there, and they, along with ART PHAG, were the ones that made the most immediate impression. (I seem to remember an ode to porn stars by SNAKE-OUT that started with the line, â€œHey Ginger Lynn / Whatâ€™s on your chin?â€Â, as well as a hideously racist song by someone going by the nom de plume of JERRY VILE. Classy!). ART PHAGâ€™s contribution was equally distressing â€“ a two-minute, bottom-feeding sludge-o-rama of the most guttural garage sounds imaginable called â€œGolfâ€Â, interrupted by occasional angry rants from a guy yelling at his girlfriend for messing with his golf clubs, followed by the sound of her screaming in sheer terror as he goes on a rampage. Like I said, tre classy.
So a couple years later the ART PHAG album comes out. Itâ€™s got a spray painted cover, each one handmade â€“ you know the way every Tom Dick & Harry noise band does it this century. Kinda cool back then. â€œGolfâ€Â is on it, and all the politically incorrect DJs at my college radio station rush to be the first one to play it. But hidden in its grooves are other songs â€“ much better songs, I thought â€“ that proved that ART PHAG werenâ€™t a one-trick pony, and that they engaged in a primitive level of subdued raunch as well as anyone else going – sounding very CRAMPSian for sure but also with nods to the Panther Burns and 60s punkers of all stripes. Iâ€™m posting two of the best from the LP â€“ oh yeah, and â€œGolfâ€Â â€“ as testament to a band undoubtedly lost to time if not for the Interweb.
Here’s a fantastic recent track from a double 3″CD (!) from Vancouver’s SHEARING PINX, one of the better debuts I’ve heard in a great long while. At times abstract noise, the grande majority of the release finds the band pummeling a tight-ass riff into the ground, with lots of skittering, creepy noises making the nature scene around it. Take for instance my favorite, the opening, “New Gospel”. You’re gonna get glimpses of funkier early 80s acts like The Pop Group, PiL and Gang of Four here, whereas a good chunk of the rest of the discs veers off into avant-noise territory of recent vintage. I say it’s all good – and this one’s the best.
Totally have appreciated the seething scorn heaped upon me every time I mention my love for the first couple of BANGLES releases. It certainly makes it all worth it, doesn’t it? Well in high school I got really into that first EP of theirs on IRS (recorded when they were still called THE BANGS), and still believe every track on it to be fantastic 60s fuzz/jangle with harmonies to die for, including their outstanding cover of New Zealand 60s punkers THE LA-DE-DAS (“How Is The Air Up There”). When their real first album came out, of course it was a total slide donw the dumper, and after that into the realm of the unmentionable. I’ve told this before, but I’ve got a pal who claims he saw the very early Bangs blow awayBLACK FLAG and RED CROSS at the Cathay De Grande in LA around 1981; four mildly scared, miniskirted young women who decided to play their bouncy 60s pop at lightning speed to the assembled meathead multitude, and won at least one new fan in the process.
So I got to college and had this clued-in next door neighboor in the dorms, and he had that first BANGS single, the one I’d never heard. Totally dug it, and still do. “Getting Out Of Hand / Call On Me”, from 1981 on Downkiddie Records, apparently got a smidgen of local airplay, but was really only one of dozens of cool Los Angeles records coming out at the time. Because of their sixties leanings, these ladies got lumped in the with “paisley underground” of the Three O’Clock, Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade et al. I guess that’s fair, but they exited the paisley ghetto just about as fast as they could, and they bank accounts are undoubtedly still thanking them. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do – c’mon, it’s OK to fess up.