Monday, January 05, 2009

More new CD reviews from the Superboss:

World War IX
Brown Baggin' It

While you and I are sitting here, surfing the internet for weird & spicy porn, the cleverly named NYC punk band World War IX are building a whole media empire out...well, out of paper bags and other household items. What we have here is a 7" single on hard-to-get black wax with four songs of snotty, old-skull, spent-the-rent punk rock (Treasure Hunt is the big winner; its about crawling around some dude's apartment, looking for drugs) wrapped in an attractive brown bag (hence the title). Assuming that anybody who listens/follows this band has serious issues with alcohol, the bag will come in handy to either puke in, or to wear when robbing a convenience store for beer money. I love it, man. The songs sound like the kind of wretched noise bands here in Boston were spewing up in the mid 80's - Gang Green, PTL Klub, whoever was putting up with GG Allin in 1984, stuff like that, and the package is just a riot. Something like this has gotta be limited - how many brown lunch bags are there in the world? - so, you know, better snatch one up quick.

PS: World War IX also have their own comic book. They're not superheroes or nothin', but they do have adventures. Eviction-y, parole-y type adventures.


Clip: World War IX, Portrait of Sobriety (with footage, not surprisingly, from Strange Brew)

Hollywood Vampires
Candy from Strangers

Me: Have I gone mad? What are the Hollywood Vampires doing in Oslo? Aren't they Italian?

Google: There's two of them. Also, Alice Cooper and the dead guy from The Who were Hollywood Vampires as well. So whatever, it's not that exclusive a club.

Thanks, Google. The Norwegian version of the HVs actually toured Italy recently, so I wonder if they had a dust-up with their spaghetti doppelgangers to see who gets to keep the name? Anyway, doesn't really matter to me. Sun's still gonna shine. As to the reason we're here today, what we're looking at is a five song EP of catchy, Trashcan Darlings-y glam-punk with hilariously coal-black lyrics about murder, necrophilia, gurgling blood, werewolves, etc. Their sound is propulsive and swaggering, obviously influenced by 80's flash-rock, and the production is big, loud, and polished. Murder, mayhem, fishnets. I dig it. I dig it like a grave.


Space Cretins
Direct from the Superfreak Highway
Killing Pig Records

Evergreen rock n' roll stuporhero Paul Diamond Blow rallies his Seattle troops once more for a hi-fi sci-fi rocket-ride through the groovier outreaches of 70's glam for what I am going to assume, given the space-centric titles and lyrics, is a concept record about...I'm thinking the downfall of Space Hog? Something like that. The music, by the way, is fuckin' stellar. I don't know if I've ever written about these dudes before, but this is no measly, skinny-armed glampunk band, these dudes wield heavy axes, and write full-on acid-glam party-punk epics. They're like a sleazy T Rex writing the soundtrack for a $10 million dollar remake of Wham Bam Thank You Mr. Spaceman starring Summer Cummings and Jesus. Throw on any of these tripped-out laser-rock flip-outs: Get Spaced, Rocket Roll, Future Hoppin', etc, and you'll get a snoutful of melt-the-floor rawk sprinkled liberally with fizzy pop flavors. Fans of Science Fiction Idols, Robin Black, Crash Kelly, all that good, gooey nu-glam oughta adjust the dials on your jet-age rock-receivers and tune into these crazy transmissions.

PS: Contains bonus holiday track, Merry Christmas Baby, which would have been a lot more relevant if I had reviewed this when I was supposed to a couple months ago. Ah, well. Play it next year.


Clip: Paul Diamond Blow wants to take you for a ride on the Superfreak Highway...

Son of Eric
Sugar Shack

First solo record from former Torok shredder Bryan Erickson who was recently voted - and who the fuck knows how they measure such a thing - third fastest guitar player alive. The fastest? A robot. The second fastest? Takes speed all day long. Eats it in pellets. So, for my money, Bryan is the real winner here. Interestingly, he doesn't really play that fast on Epiphany. This is more of a mid-tempo, post-grunge creepy-crawl, not unlike late period Alice in Chains or the equally late, but not nearly as lamented, Supafuzz. Goes without saying that the guitar is stellar, but Bryan's vox are equally arena-ready, and some of the grooves - particularly on Born - are so deep and thick they leave tire treads. Impressive stuff, well worth a sniff if you're of the traditional hard-rock persuasion.


Fucked if I Know

I had this one sitting around for a while and I am sure that, at some point, I knew exactly what it was. But that time has long past. Now it's just a CDR with no name and a disturbingly primitive color Xerox cover of two cavemen/Eskimos (hard to tell which) discovering a busted satellite in the snow. After nearly four and a half minutes, I ascertained that this is, in fact, a 'live demo' from Trebuchet, a UK band known for their Grand Funky power-rock and their haphazard marketing plans. For what it is, the fuckin' thing is a rocker, a great and tumultuous bashing of ape-man thuggery, a shameless ode to early 70's belly-over-the-buckle biker sludge. Party Like Crazy is clearly the anthem of the evening, a fist-waving call-to-chaos that practically reeks of beer sweat right through the speakers, but Trebuchet are not one to let go of a solid idea, so variations on the theme roll out pretty relentlessly: Let It Rock, Give Me Rock n' Roll, Punched in the Nuts, etc. I'm guessing this exists because Trebuchet haven't hit the studio yet, so give it a listen via Myspace and wait for the inevitable double-album gatefold.

Population: 1
DVD Cult Epics
Written and directed by Rene Daalder
Starring Tomata du Plenty

This reissue of the 1986 cult classic starring Tomata du Plenty of legendary LA punk visionaries, The Screamers, comes as a double-disc set with the newly restored director's cut on the first disc and a bunch of extras on the second. And if I'm gonna be honest, I gotta admit that I hated the movie. Despite Tomata's considerable charisma, the film plays exactly like what it was: a chroma key-ed mess cobbled together from pre-MTV music videos, concert footage, old Americana, and bits of director Daalder's scrapped German expressionist-styled movie, Mensch, loosely held together by the revisionist American history 'narrative' of the apocalypse's sole survivor. The film itself is crap.

What isn't crap, however, is how historically important the film is; Daalder and company were DIY chroma key pioneers, paving the way for the music video as we know it. (You have Population: 1 to thank for how cool the video for The Cars' You Might Think was.) Also not crappy are most of the extras, including a really great interview with Rene Daalder about the characters and story behind the making of the movie (Russ Meyer, The Sex Pistols, Vampira, Al Hansen and his grandkid, Beck, Carel Struycken aka the giant from Twin Peaks, Penelope Houston of The Avengers, and Sheela Edwards all play roles). Daalder is fuckin' cool, man. And the live footage from a 1979 Screamer's gig at the Whisky A Go Go alone is worth the price of admission. Tomata du Plenty was indeed, to quote Daalder, the most "endearing, demented" character. So if you still have a couple of Christmas bucks to blow, buy Population: 1 and watch the extras. And then get yourself some decent hallucinogens and watch the actual movie. It's probably better that way.
New CD reviews from the Superboss:

Steve Hooker Shakers
Really Gone Remastered

For brevity's sake, I will refrain from gushing about Mr. Hooker's endless contributions to the seedy world of UK glam-punk. Suffice to say, the man was there in the thick of it, from the O.G. '77 punk explosion to the post-Hanoi glitter-punk days, doling out slithery gutter-billy and sunken-cheeked punk n' roll like a less mashed-in Johnny Thunders. The really cool kids knew his old band, the Shakers, and the really old kids remember his first-wave punk band, The Heat.

You can unravel his deep and twisting history del rock on his website. For now, let me just sing the praises of Really Gone Remastered. A revamped version of the Shakers' seminal '84 imported-from-France record Really Gone, it's a black-cat howl of stripped-down scuzz, from the jangly Dress in Black to bare-bones duck-walkers like Poison, Catch On, and their finest-ever, You Don't Have to Tell Me. There's also a sleazy little non-LP number called (She's) Afraid to Come ripped right from an old Shakers' demo tape. As far as the 'remastered' bit goes...well, maybe. Still sounds gloriously tin-can to me, though. The Shakers weren't Rush, man, they were voodoo-daddies with skinny legs and flick-knives stuffed in their boots.

I believe this is the first of many un-vaulted Hooker recordings. If you haven't heard the man or his bands yet, and you dig bones-in-your-hair rattle-punk like, say, the Joneses, Tex and the Horseheads, Gun Club, and the Cramps, then walk don't run to your nearest internet provider and get in on the action.


Clip: Steve Hooker, Stagger Lee is Back (with dancing girls!).

Split CD
Zodiac Killer

If you're looking for a real rock n' roll rush, that kind of breathless adrenaline high that only really fuckin' spot-on, bad-ass, punch-the-wall rock can give you, than you are in luck. The fine fiends at Zodiac Killer records have paired two of the hottest sleaze-punk sensations currently residing on this or any other puny planet on a scorching split CD that will have you robbing liquor stores and impregnating porn stars by tomorrow morning. Fullerton, California's Disguster are like the Backyard Babies without all the Def Leppard bullshit, a swaggering glam-punk assault on the senses that's fast and mean and at least half-crazy. The Hitchhikers...well, these motherfuckers are ex-Humpers, which should tell you all you need to know. Bruising punk with a junk-rock twist and 10,000 miles of bad road to wander. The Hitch tracks include original demos from 2003 and new shit, as well. The Disguster stuff is so fresh it's still steaming. In the grand tradition of incestuous West Coast punk, there's at least one Disguster in the Hitchhikers, and who knows what they're sharing backstage, so the two bands complement each other nicely. This is the most accomplished collection of low-down dirt-rock I've heard in ages, and I recommend it without hesitation. If I could somehow force you to buy it, I fuckin' would.


Clip: Disguster, My Kick.

Evil Twin

Bernie Torme is one of the greatest guitar players in history of that cursed instrument, an acid-dipped gypsy-glam punk rock superstar who swings his axe like a blood-hungry maniac. You may remember him from his late 80's flash-rock band Torme, or from his early 80's solo records, or from the Rene Berg band, or from Desperado, his band with Twisted Sister's lead-mouth Dee Snider, or in any of the zillion other places he's been between 1970-something to now. For the past few years he's been bashing away with his supergroup/power trio GMT, which also includes NWOBHM bass-hero John McCoy and Anti-product drummer/nutter Robin Guy. Evil Twin is their second album, and it's chockfull of sun-bursting psyche-punk guitar heroism, cowbell abuse, squealing hard rock, and high weirdness. Bernie's old pal Dee shows up on vox for opener Punko Rocco, Bernie straps on a sitar for loopy acid-anthem Jonny Sitar, and there's a brawling, drawling, 10-minute blooze epic called Perfumed Garden. Very much in the vein of Benie's seminal '83 Electric Gypsies record, Evil Twin is vintage Torme craziness, a slashing, smashing slab of wild beast throb that will have you air-guitaring like an idiot for days.


Clip: GMT, Cannonball.

Seven Dirty Words
Hard Boiled and Dirty
Loaded Bomb

Have I written about this record already? Dunno. It's been here awhile, but I will not allow more time to sluice by without mentioning 'em. So-Cal speed-rockers with grit, venom, and a penchant for greasy, bleed-along, head-stomping choruses, Seven Dirty Words are like The Hookers with a Judas Priest fetish. Hard Boiled, their debut, is brief but suitably devastating, a fuck-and-run assault of hard-charging, redneck blast-rock anchored by the fairly incredible (I'm Your) Motherfucker, a triple speed throttling of Motorhead proportions, and Outta My Head, a cowbell-banging ode to losing your mind at just the right moment. Fast, fucked, and furious stuff. Even if you were born with a vagina, you'll still end up with a pair of thick, hairy balls after hearing this record.


Clip: Seven Dirty Words, live! (Thanks, Flashrock)

In the Rough

First off, I want Diemonds to know how much I appreciate their DIY approach to marketing. In the Rough is wrapped in a hand-screened digipak with old-skull Xeroxed lyrics nearly folded in (they're unreadable unless you've got tiny fucking eyes, but whatever) and topped off with a once-inch button to pin on the lapel of your leather jacket. It's obviously a labor of love, and I salute 'em for it. And here's the even-better news: they play sleazy, hook-heavy flash-rock, and they've got a hot, pint-sized front-fox with arena-rocking pipes. Young, tough, and Canadian (C'mon, it's possible), Diemonds have clearly spent many ruinous nights chugging whiskey and listening to crackly old Crue and GN'R tapes, and this is the result of their misspent youth, a seven-shot battering of slithery guitars, fuck-on-the-floor glam-metal, punk-snarl, and radio-ready pop-hooks. If I was the dude in charge, I'd flood the airwaves with White Walls, an epic bout of panicky, Blondie-meets-Guns awesomeness that it so, so shamelessly fuckable that it's practically pornographic. A stellar debut that'll sleaze everybody from Donnas fans to Sunset Strip holdouts.

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