Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Vega Lee's Apocalipstick

Church of the Immaculate Fetish Glam Punk

Everything about the way this CD looks pleases me. The cover features Vega Lee herself, a peroxided fox in fishnets, holding a shotgun, superimposed over a Bosch panel. The CD itself is silver glitter. You could attach some fishing line to it and spin it real fast, and it would look just like some tiny, half-assed mirror ball. The complicated title probably only makes sense to about 5 people on the entire planet, including me. The three tracks within sound like Alien Sex Fiend fronted by the meanest bitch of a girlfriend you ever had, reading from a voluminous list of all the things she hates about you. In short, if I could find some way to have sex with this disc, I would.


Very Ape

Kosher Boogie

Ok, so it's not VERY Ape- I think the evil beatniks that got washed up on Gilligan's Island that time, with the furry vests and iron crosses, were way more Ape than these garage-boogie Swedes, but hell, it's ape enough for a Saturday night. Straight outta Stockholm, VA don't make one move here that couldn't have been concocted by any given arena rock monsters in 1976, which is entirely their point, I'm sure. There's a sunny wash of psychedelia radiating throughout Kosher Boogie, but for the most part, they sound like Sweet and Skynrd (before anyone died) jamming together like golden gods in front of 60,000 bellbottomed freaks. It's music for the people on the street, baby, it's the sound of traffic jams and bad news from Southeast Asia and long lines at the gas pumps and hot nights in the big city, and even if those 'people' are all driving SUV's and selling out to the Man now, you can't blame Very Ape, because they're waving the freak flag as high as they can here.


Vice Dolls

Die Trying

I saw a ladycop porn flick called "Vice Dolls" once ("What a big nightstick you have, Sarge!"), but it didn't sound nothin' like this. This versh o' Vice Dolls is a hahd-core band from Illinois (lil' town of Danville, to be exact) with a chick singer who looks like a heavily-tattooed Janine Garafolo and sounds EXACTLY like bottle rockets whizzing through the air. The rest of the guys just look like the same kinda seedy characters you find lounging around yr couch every Saturday night if yr, like, 24, and have a lotta roommates, and the racket they rocket is 'traditional' US 'core, ya know, no berserk noise or tuff-guy metal or that pussy pop stuff, just snarly speed-punk with screamalong choruses and the occasional blast of melody to keep things user-friendly. A very energetic sorta affair here, but the fun factor is on the cheapside of nil, cuz' VD take themselves WAY seriously ("Regrets! In your life! Regrets! Can't live down!" -you know, stuff like that), but I suppose if yer a hardcore punk-type, you get yr kicks some other way. Alcoholism, maybe. Anyway, if ya like fast, punchy punk rock, then I reckon these here Dolls are peddlin' yr kinda Vice.


Violent Vortez

Lure Elegant
Secret Port

For once, it's all Greek to me on purpose. Violet Vortex are stoner rock holdouts from Athens, Greece, a city more known for it's primitive, grave robbing black metal than it is for deep and soulful grooves and sun-baked desert metal riffs. On Lure Elegant, the guitar sounds like a fizzing bottle rocket drunkenly weaving between this dimension and the bubbling, syrupy one on the other side of the thick black lake, only there's an exotic edge to the sound that got to be the trad-Greek influence creeping in, that makes Violet Vortex stand out from all the other sleepy dragon green machines out there. Although the vocals of St. Spirus could use some work- his words get wrenched around like a priest at the pulpit with a dog chewing on his ankle, and maybe their native tongue, with plenty of x's, k's, and z's to roll around in, might be better suited to his style- but when's the last time you listened to a stoner rock record for the vocals anyway? The screaming purple axes are what wins the prize in this game, and Violet Vortex have got it covered- acid drenched, doomy, double-wide and as classically inspired as the crumbling ruins in their home town. Nice slabbage of spacey drug rock from an overlooked chunk of land full of topless supermodels that is quickly storming the sandy beaches with a vast array of super fuzz.


Viva Vertigo

Viva Viva
Bad Afro

Copenhagen lounge-lizard Simon Beck found himself with a batch of million dollar songs, but only a battered acoustic guitar to scratch 'em out, and hell, he's not a fuckin' hippy, dig? So, he rounded up a buncha heavy-devy studio musicians, including bass player Mick Grondahl (Jeff Buckley band) and a slew of homegrown talent (Sune Rose Wagner on guitar, Kristoffer Sonne on drums, etc.), recorded said songs in proper rock band fashion, and called it "Viva Vertigo", 'cuz, let's face it, "The Simon Beck Experience" doesn't have enuff zing. The result, while bein' kinda lightweight for the normally red-assed fuzz-fiends over at Bad Afro, is a compelling mix of 80's FM pop and roots-rock. I don't even know how to describe it, really, 'cept to say that it reminds me of a haunted INXS riding a lonesome, cowskull-studded trail. Tracks like the psych-tinged "Jaguar Tornado" and the pseudo-surfy "Devilhead" come on like pleasant fever dreams, or maybe soundtracks to forgotten road-movies. "Diamond Crush" is Dick Dale-as-condemned-man, "Satellitte Song" is X drowning in a molasses flood, and there's some 60's-tinged garage-jangle in there, too. It's kinda creepy, sure, but I think that's the idea. Of course, ROCKING OUT to this 'un is out of the question, but it may be perfect for shooting a man in Reno, just to watch him die.


Volume Nob

The Most High

Volume Nob are a semi-secret supergroup from N'awlins featuring members of Down, Crowbar, Black Label Society, and Graveyard Rodeo. Apparently, they've been living the hard-scrabble side-project life for ten years now, and are finally ready to rip a ragged, red hole into the fabric of rock n' roll on a global scale. Usually, you'd want your earth-cracking manifesto to top the 15 minute mark, but Volume Nob like to get in and out like smash n' grab jewel thieves, screamin' and bleedin' for 90 seconds at a time, and then getting the fuck outta Dodge. Soundwise, we're talking old-school thrash metal and hardcore, with just a hint of the sludge n' roll you'd expect from this particular gang of rock outlaws. The last two tracks ("Friend for Life" ? "Brutal Attack"? The track listing is a little screwy) are live, head-slamming hardcore-punk assaults that bring to mind Agnostic Front and Suicidal Tendencies, and they fuckin' slay, Jack. The first four tracks are more in the traditional metal vein, but they're pretty nasty little stabs of slam-pit hellfire as well. I dunno what else to tell you, man. It's goddamn aggressive, this record. If it could break your knees, it would.


Von Zippers

The Crime Is Now!

The Von Zippers, as we all know, are the surf Nazis that menaced Annette Funicello and friends back in the 60's*. They like dirty rock and roll and cheap beer and Mousketeer tits, and they ain't afraid to take over the whole fuckin' beach if they have to. The do play surf music, sure, but it ain't that beachball-bouncing bubblegum stuff, it's a savage, shark spotting, neo-punk garage kinda surf music, for people that really wouldn't be caught dead at the beach. It's a beach blanket bango played by guys in monocles and those fucked up, twirly Red Baron mustaches, and made for the kind of people that only like doin' the twist when they're wearing Frankenstein masks. It's a freakout and a clambake all at once. With harmonicas, even. I dunno exactly what kind of crime the Von Zippers are committing here, but it's most definitely happening, baby. Get Zipped!

*Not really. They're actually a bunch of Canadians from right now. The real Von Zippers are probably eating honey mush or something by now, but I bet they're still mean fuckers.


Wild Cat Sleezy


Straight out of Stockholm, Sweden's sleeziest wild cats pour on the 80's inspired arena metal on this two track demonstration of their jungle feline prowess. "He-Man", which I'm hoping is not about that pussy cartoon, and "Heaven's Morgue" find the Wild Cats shifting gears into a less, well, sleazy form of hard rock then prior recordings. Maybe they gave up drinking, or something. It's still rife with their signature sonics, though- world class harmonies, thick, bluesy riffs, and a general air of rock star chest thumping. Both songs remind me of TNT back in the "Knights of the New Thunder" days, so if you're looking for some strutting melodic Euro metal to seduce teenage headbanger chicks with, well than, baby, Wild Cat Sleezy is your kind of animal.



Take the System Down

If I've got this right at all, Mike Weinstein (FT, he calls himself here) is a philosophy professor from Perdue university who spends his spare time being an upstart, a campus agitator in the frizzy Abby Hoffman tradition. Vortis, so named in homage to some obscure, Ezra Pound-led art movement in the early 20th century, is his back-up band, comprised of younger, though no less Yippified, educators and intellectuals. Together they mix up clanging indie-rock and old-school punk with FT's "Revolution Now" ranting on "Take the System Down", which sounds like a particularly profane Dead Kennedy's album, minus the thrash but with many, many bathtub chemicals tossed in. There is no charm to FT's voice- he sounds like an angry, drunken biker- so the band does a lot for smoothing out his barks of protest. What's he so mad about? You know, WTO, the Middle East, racial tension, the Unabomber, that kind of thing. Is he insane? Probably pretty close. At the very least, he's really fucking with is tenure on these tracks. Fans of Copernicus, John Giorno, Brother Theodore, and other intellectual nuts with microphones and an affection for Sonic Youth will love this. Me, I'm from Cambridge, baby. I've got guys like FT breaking it down for me on every subway ride.


Working With Children and Animals Vol 2

Various Artists
Wasp Factory

UK Industrial dance label Wasp Factory show off with this compilation of diverse acts. Swarf are pretty much a disco outfit, so let us forge ahead before I have to mention Donna Summer. Dust play 90's industrial with metal guitars and ass shaking beats, kind of like Filter, except good. Katscan are a bubbling, grinding cross between Thrill Kill Kult and Love and Rockets, like a candy-coated razorblade. Psychophile are nearly ambient goth-pop. Freudstein borrow their name from a character in a Fulci film, so it's no surprise that their songs are about killing people, but their subtle bleeps and blips approach to the subject is unique- stalker techno? Nuts gotta dance, too. Spray- the runaway hits of the comp, are a tongue in cheek electro-pop band with vocals that scream "Minogue!" and a sound that recalls every band out of Britain in 1987. The song titles of their two tracks, "I Am Goth" and "Child of the 80's", says it all. Funny lyrics and catchy songs, a winner. Interlock are scary, screechy industrial goth, and Seventh Harmonic close things out with breezy, ethereal soundscapes. A diverse sampler with a few bitchin' tracks and plenty of atmosphere.



Dinosauric Futurobic
Black Balloon

We have a 9 minute song called '1971', and halfway through, you might start thinking you're there, back in the napalm panic and afro boogie, back when rock had just shaken off it's hippy bellbottom flower power and dosed itself on acid, war, and freaked out Alice Cooper records. It's riff rawk all right, but the riffs are jumpy, skittish, like the darting eyes of a flashback victim searching for a safe place to land, and the sun baked WE sound travels on a giant wolf spider's back - regal, but dangerous. I don't know if there's a band out there that can ride the monster groove like these cats, Cathedral maybe, but there are no caves of doom to hide in- here in this Dinosauric excursion into the outlands of heavy, drug fried bliss rock, there is only sudden movement followed by a fuzzy sort of post-apocalyptic, free floating, feedback drenched tunnel of love, filled with purple ripples of what might be peace, or might just be the calm before the storm. WE have no use for the tawdry contrivances of Earthly things, except maybe for your electricity and your naked dancing girls. In exchange, WE will gladly take you on a glistening rocket ride into inner space. I've already got my ticket. WE will see you on the other side, baby.



Rock n' Roll Owes Me

Jesus, were truer words ever spoken? Rock n' Roll surely does owe me, and while rock n' roll is at it, hell, lay a little sugar (or whatever) on Portland's own Weaklings, last seen (by me) on Junk Records' infamous "Going After Pussy" comp from 1999, which ended up killing half the bands on it (New Wave Hookers, where are you?). Not the Weaklings, tho. Usually, it's EASY to kill weaklings, but not these fuckers. Must be the booze fortifying 'em. Anyway, this here is a vinyl-only release, which scares off the sales for most of the under-25 crowd among us, but that's ok, man. The Weaklings don't need to sell a million of these things, they just have to get in the sweaty hands of enough big mouths to generate the sorta buzz they deserve. And deserve it they do, cuz they are easily the best garage-sleaze-punk band since the Black Halos, if not the almighty Dragons themselves. What puts bands like the Weaklings over the edge is not the copped Eddie Cochran riffs, the Johnny Thunders solos, or the narcotic hand-claps on the choruses - I mean, all the stuff is boss, but it's also pretty easy- what really knocks you out with an outfit like the Weaklings is the utter confidence with which they swagger around. I mean, these cats KNOW they rock, they have not whit of self-doubt in that department, so all these songs are really just the Weaklings rubbing their cock-rockitude in yr face. Just smearing it right in there. And I am down with that. Best on deck- "On with the Show", a Texas Terri meets Gary Glitter glam-rock-cum-sex show that just rocks all over the place, and the headbangin' flash rocker "Straight Flush", which would make both AC/CD AND Junkyard proud. And it's got cowbells, too. This is a massive record, baby. Ya might have to go out and buy a dusty ol' rekkid player just to listen to it. You owe the Weaklings that much, I reckon.



Demo 1& 2

Whenever a band starts swinging their guitars around like they own rock and roll, and throw Zodiac Mindwarp space boss swagger king vox on top, I start to think that maybe the world really does revolve around me. Well, if this is the universe of Sleaze, I am very pleased indeed with the good work of Weirdorama, and not just because they've got the sheer class to call their guitarist Make, and their bass player Arizona. Weirdorama use those two twins titans of heavy rock heroism, The Cult and Guns n' Roses as their sonic template, adding Mike's self aggrandizing sex tyrant vocals into the mix, for an explosive blend of chugging flash rock that could only have been made in a cheekbone factory like Finland, and only truly appreciated by desperate gun wielding types with payments due on Harleys and birth control pills. Both of these demos are the groundwork for what's sure to be a massive debut album. W2 highlights the more gorilla fisted side of Weirdorama, where the songs have more of an 80's metal thread running through their bones, while W1 is pure manly sleaze. Either way, Weirdorama are a welcome addition to the roster of Super Rock, and I highly suggest you get in on the ground floor, while the t-shirts are still cheap.



We Got the Neutron Bomb

I dunno if the 1989 versh of the Weirdos is supposed to sound like Thin Lizzy with David Byrne on vocals, but it does, I swear. This is volume two of a career spanning compilation series of this seminal LA proto-hardcore band. The first volume was originally released in 1991, and since it contained most of their early, more-well known stuff (which is easy to do, after all, when you've got minute-and-a-half long songs), so this one's more of an odds n' sods affair, hence, the late 80's stuff, which really is fuckin' weird. That's only 3 tracks worth tho- and one of those is a cover of Love's '7 and 7 is', so if' it's the filth and fury yr after, there's plenty here. The Weirdos came along in the late 70's when 'punk' still meant an uglier, more sinister version of rock n' roll, before Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys tossed out all that pussy tunefulness and replaced with flailing rage. Most of the time, they sounded like a less druggy version of their NYC counterparts, as on the teenage rampage rockers "It Means Nothing" ('80) and "Skateboards to Hell" ('79) But, you know how punk rockers get- the Weirdos couldn't even follow the loud-fast-rules rules, and had a tendency towards the wildly experimental, as on the spacey "Hey Big Oil" (from '81's Warhead), or goth-tinged cowpunk like "The Hide-Out" ('80). But hey, stick around through all the sax-skronking and post-punk side-steps, and you will be richly rewarded with live and/or alternate version of needles n' pins haymakers like the title track, "Destroy all Music", and "Barbaric Americana", that are all fire, energy, and attitude. Seriously, man, I know it's hard to imagine, what with corporate sponsored tours and mall rat emo, but punk used to be cool. Here's the proof.



Godless We Stand

Well, you can tell just by way these fuckers spell 'werewolf' that they mean business. Relentless black metal savagery from the cold, unforgiving wastelands of...Charlotte, North Carolina? I didn't know they even had the devil down there, but these former Darkmoon members do their damnedest to conjure him up on the jaw-dropping, head-snapping "Godless We Stand". Unlike their nekro-cult brethren from the olde country, Werhwolfe actually approach accessibility here, and I can see this record appealing to a wider audience than just 17 church burning teens from upper Oslo. Sure, it's brutal, pounding, tear-your-tits off blackened thrash, but it's got huge, crystal clear production and a level of musicianship that rivals even those progressive power metal chumps. The songs all seem to be about some kinda Satanic war they've got planned, and if "Stainless Steel Lycanthropy" (yikes!) is any indication, it's gonna be one hell of a fight. You know that famous woodcut of the werewolf wandering around a medieval village with a baby in it's jaws? This sounds just like that. Only with guns.

We're All Gonna Die

Go To Hell

We're All Gonna Die are local boyz, long-time uberbosses in Boston's nebulous nu-metal/supergrunge scene and, to be honest, they're about the last band, save for Mr Skimask and the Robots for Christ maybe, that I'd expect to see on Suthin' smoker rawk label Underdogma. But hey, I don't sign 'em, I just report the facts, ma'am. So's anyways, on "Go to Hell", WAGD most definitely have the stomp and bluster of post-Pantera suburban rage-rock down cold, but they pepper the teenage chest thumping with heavy doses of arena-grunge pyrotechnics, and end up with something resembling a jacked-up-on-trucker-speed Alice in Chains for most of this 'un's running time. Except, of course, for songs like gut-churners "Afraid" and "Things I've Forgotten", when they sound pretty much just like Staind. Oh yeah, and they abandon the blueprint completely for the live psyche n' roll freakadelia of chaotic closer "Twelfth Step", which is probably the kinda raucous spark that got 'em signed in the first place. So, there ya go. Surly burly cosmic moshpit mayhem straight offa the streets of Boston. See ya in the emergency room.


White Cowbell Oklahoma

Cencerro Blanco
Sick Monkey

White Cowbell Oklahoma are everything I envy and fear about the Deep South, which is pretty remarkable, seeing as they're from fuckin' Canada. Like a wet t-shirt contest, a drag-race, and a biker rally all at once, they are the very definition of shameless hillbilly kicks. White Cowbell, see, ain't yer average buncha phony hayseed booze rockers, Lord no. They've got 4 or 5 guitarists all riffin' away like the Allman brothers-times-a-million, they've got old toothless guys playing wash tubs and banjos, they've got half-mad bubbas wrestling gators, and they've got porn stars wrestling in cole slaw. Well, most of that, anyway. And now, they've even got a goddamn rock n' roll record. "Cencerro Blanco" is a gang-bang of culture-jamming white trash ephemera and surprisingly straight-ahead 70's Southern boogie, and it really does rock like crazy, even without a whole redneck circus worth of Hee-Haw gimmicks. The title track is the most forceful cut, a real ZZ Top-on-speed highway burner, but the rest of the record is much more of a 70's deep-album-cut throwback. I mean, they sound like Boston! And Kansas! And Thin Lizzy! And BT fuckin' O! Who else, I ask you, would write a song like "Packing My Bags", which mixes a ragtime piano with arena-blooze riffs copped from Triumph? Nobody, Jack, 'cept for 10 dudes in flared cowboy polyester that KNOW they're getting laid, no matter what. They've got vibe-filled Skyrnd odes ("Ole Glory"), they've got sleazy riff rock ("Put the South in Your Mouth"), and they've got plenty of shitkicking, deep-album-cut hard rock anthems, like the bitchin' "Cheerleader" and the soul-fried "San Antone". I mean, what the fuck more could you want from a debut? As their singer (let's call 'em a 'sanger', for authenticity's sake) Clem will be more then happy to inform you, "It is inconceivable that anything can rock this hard." He ain't lying, either. If you've got any cowboy in ya at all, check these horsepunchers out. They'll jangle yr spurs, Jethro.


Who's Not Forgotten

Various Artists

Face Down Records have assembled a Who's Who (ahem) of the Philly/Jersey power-pop scene here, all taking on various Who classics in a tribute/benefit, with portions of the proceedings going to H.E.A.R., Pete Townshend's non-prof. organization that's workin' on treatments, and maybe-someday a cure, for Tinnitus - .i.e 'ringing in the ear', i.e. slow, steady, deafness, which Pete famously has, as do many not-so-famous cats who surround themselves with wall-shaking volume on a daily basis. A good cause, and, despite the maximum saturation the Who have gotten on classic rock radio seemingly my entire fuckin' life, not a bad comp, either. I mean, I still wanna head for the hills everytime "Baba O' Riley" fires up (even the psyche-edged Guided By Voices versh heard here) but otherwise, ya got the Smithereens' own Pat Dinizio doin' an acoustic "Behind Blue Eyes", the Dipsomaniacs rip-roaring thru "Bargain", a deconstructed, girl-punk powered "My Generation" by the Contractions, and the proverbial plenty more. 21 tracks, 20-and-a-half bands, as much fuckin' Who as anybody can possibly take in one sitting. Just don't listen to it too loudly, or you will defeat the entire purpose of the record.


Wild Weekend


Hey! Eesa Eye-talian rocka rolla, bay-bee! I like these cats, but then, I've always had an affection for belligerent broken English. "We recorded these songs on alcohol", WW write in the liner notes. "We were high, too, as well as everytime we play." They also claim to have recorded this album during a "magnetic storm caused by the sun" which caused their tunes to "blow" and their guitars to "play out of tune", and while all that kinda sounds like excuse (and I s'ppose it is, at least by half) I believe it, man, the whole bleary-eyed, pseudo-evil shtick, cuz this short-but-effective burst of garage punk (make sure to spit when ya get to the "punk" part) sounds like...well, ya remember that bit in "Trilogy of Terror" when the berserk voodoo doll keeps stabbing Karen Black? The songs here are kinda like that - not vicious enuff to outright KILL you, but enuff to turn you into a crazed, bloody mess. The Wild Weekend do an Angry Samoans cover here ("Different World"), and that's pretty much the perfect reference point for 'em. Toss in a little Pagans and maybe some Wanderers, and ya got it cold. Full throttle, punk-fried garage n' roll madness. I liked "Born to Fuck" and "No Tears for Girls" the best. What a surprise, eh?


The Willowz


Impossibly (well, obviously not IMPOSSIBLY, but close) groovy retro-rawk from this 19-year-old-hot-chick-on-bass powered trio from sunny Anaheim. Teen cool creep up-front Richie Eaton (whose mama used to 'date' Henry Rollins, sez here) sounds like that Smashing Pumpkins mope, only all hopped up on Twinkies and the Estrus back catalogue, and even though the whole operation turns swirly and girly when bass-chick (Jessica Reynoza) joins him on back-ups, his whole slacker-snarl vibe is primo garage-brat stuff. Quite frankly, I find it alarming that kids - fuckin' KIDS - can so accurately bang out a sound that their goddamn grandpas (assuming they're related to the Sonics or maybe Bubble Puppy) first dreamed and schemed up, but that's the fact, Jack. Big winners here are opener "Meet Your Demise", a cocky, shaker-maker fuzzbomb, where Richie slurs his words so extravagantly that I thought he was sayin' "Mission to Mars" the first few spins, and heavy, Cream-y acid-psyche freedom rocker "Keep on Lookin'", with vox by Jessy and a monstrous, Frisco-style hippy-love-death-trip groove. The snotty, throwaway "End Song" is annoying-on-purpose enuff to derail the operation for casual listeners, but I don't think the Willowz are gonna HAVE casual listeners, I think their gonna have rabid, devoted worshippers that are gonna carve their logo into their arms, so who cares. Wait, that's Slayer. Well, I dunno what crazed garage rock teens do to prove their love, but there's bound to be some blood spilled over the Willowz, cuz not only do they sound like the White Stripes if the White Stripes were a real fuckin' band and not a tinny gimmick, but the Stripes are like, almost as old as ME, man. Long live the new flesh.


Without End

Disease is Man
Pseudo Plasma

Jersey thrash mutants Without End strut their burly stuff on this 13 track bruiser of a debut. WE's sound runs the heavy-devy gamut, from Pantera/Soil style stomp n' roll, to crackly nu-doom, to earthdog fist-raising thrash metal, but I'd say Slayer and Biohazard are yr safest bets for quick and easy comparisons. "Alive" is a highlight, not so much for it's chugging hardcore-metal rhythms, but because Adam Tranquill's nasty-ass guitar tone is a deadringer for Venom's own Mantas, circa '83. Bitchin'. The atrociously titled "You'll Stink in the End" is also pretty bad ass, mixing hardcore punk matinee madness with industrial strength, Rollins-esque muscle rock to forge a powerful surge of angry electricity. Elsewhere it's all hammers on anvils and thrash 'til death, so if old-skull thrash metal peppered with some nu-jack nuance sounds like yer kind of kick ass, "Disease is Man" will surely ring your Hell's bell.



Undesirable Citizens
Terra Forma

A solid set of Clash/SLF-style working man's punk rock here from these Oregon based politi-rockers. The original Wobblies (AKA the Industrial Workers of the World) were a Socialist group formed in Chicago in 1905, and if I talk any more about 'em, George Bush will probably have me thrown in jail, so let's just say these Wobblies apparently carry on with their rights-for-the-working-man agenda. Only instead of protesting in the streets (although they might do that too, I dunno) these cats write tuneful, catchy, minute-long punk tunes that bridge the gap between rabble-rouser street rock and the melodic folk-punk of Billy Bragg. Of course, protesting Armageddon when your feet are already in the fire might strike some as too little too late, but ya gotta admit, the Wobblies have heart. If yr at all interested in the Struggle, check these true-blue punks out.



Cold Light of Monday

I keep waiting for the sucker-gut punch on this one- after all, it's on death-grind braineater label Earache after all, and wolverines are supposed to be all teeth and claws and blood rage, so when the 'girl-in-the-radiator' styled creep shmaltz of opener "Dawn" melted like cheddar into the slacker jazz of "Sarah", I figured either Wolverine were building up to one mighty wallop of lupine murder-shred, or maybe they just slipped the wrong disc in the promo sleeve. Turns out I was wrong on both counts, as this gang of reflective Swedes have effectively shed the matted fur of their 'melodic death metal' past for a rainy, candle-lit future as a moody, Queensryche-esque prog-goth slumber rock band. Now, when I tell ya that these fellas have emigrated to the extreme side of "mellow", I do not exaggerate- dig "Trust", a piano ballad that sounds like it was plinked out on a mountaintop as cartoon elephants in tutus danced around, or the coffeehouse balladeer meets Journey tribute band madness of "New Best Friend". What does all this mean? Brother, I do not know. What I do know is that these guys probably still gig with their headchopper buddies, and I would surely love to see what happens when hopped-up death metal moshrats try and thrash to this. And they will, you just know they will. Personally, I probably wouldn't wanna listen to this unless I had just swallowed 150 sleeping pills or something, but if yer the miserable/sleepy type, "Cold Light of Monday" is just slightly more expensive then a box of Sleepytime tea, and cheaper than a handful of bullets.


Wooly Mammoth

Ten Ton Baby

The thing with Wooly Mammoths was that even thought they were lumbering giants, pounding holes into the ground with every step, they were also as mean as a rattlesnake. Had to be, with all those vicious two legged reptiles snapping at them. This particular band name has been ripe for the picking for years, and it's nice to hear that Wooly Mammoth actually live up to it- oh, it's big, baby, and hairy, but Wooly can also lay it down like fighting men. They've got the southern drawling stoner roll of Alabama Thunderpussy laced with a druggy doom rock edge, and it's all heads down volume worship from there. TTB is a 4 track EP that could fit itself neatly into the middle of Roadsaw's 'Nationwide'- thick and bowl legged, snaky and lupine, rocking and rolling. These young DC cats are obviously going to make hometown heroes Pentagram proud, as they're just as filthy and doomed as their black hearted grand daddies.

World War IX

Panic Attack
Elis Eil

WWIX (that's a lotta wars) is a Brooklyn based punk rock band featuring a guitarist and (kinda JR Williams-ish) comic artist by name of Justin Melkmann, and his (presumably) funky bunch of friends. What is cool, it turns out, about having a cartoonist in the band is that he can draw pictures of what each song is about. And as far as I can tell, all of 'em are about drinking, except for the ones about murder, and the GG Allin cover ("NYC Tonight"), which is, of course, about both. Their sound has a decidedly retro '77 flavor to it; they sound a LOT like the Buzzcocks and a little like EATER and the maybe the Jam. The songs on the aptly named "Panic Attack" are jumpy and fast, and they sound like a way too-crowded, way too-druggy night at CBGB's. As you may or may not know, bands from places like New Zealand or Scotland that play nervous pogo-rock like this are often proclaimed to be geniuses - or at least "hot" - by neo-hipster newsstand rags, so perhaps a similar kindness will be bestowed upon our Noo Yawk pals here. Either way, if you are currently wearing a leather jacket and have a handful of pills in one of the pockets, then chances are you'll dig this.


Wrecks from the Highway


First of all, I love the sepia toned cover of the hipster hottie suckin' a lollipop, and the jivey liner notes, written in yankee Redneckese, are pretty cool, as well. But I'm not here to review cd artwork, baby, I'm here to slice through the rock like a Krypton laser, so here's what's blaring outta the speakers. Wrecks play shitkicker motorcycle rock, kinda like Social Distortion without the phony jailhouse machismo. They've got an ear for tasty licks and on "My friend Scott" use it to maximum affect, sounding like a sleazy powerpop band, but mostly they just barrel through their songs like there's a checkered flag at the 3 minute mark. With a cover of Waylon's "Dukes of Hazzard" theme and Wolfman Jack samples, Wrecks are just about as American as a bunch of Scotsman are gonna be. I bet it gets 'em laid all the time. If you'd like to hear the grease n' grit punk of the Turbo AC's played from a million miles away, here's your best bet.


Wretched Ones

Less is More

Man, are you asking for abuse by naming yr band "The Wretched Ones". Has no one learned from Quiet Riot's great "Condition Critical" debacle? Actually, these Ones who Wretch have been around so long - I remember seeing ads for their records in Maximum Rock and Roll when I was still young n' virile, for Chrissakes - that I'm sure they've heard 'em all already. Anyway, these Jersey-based street punks are so old-school that it was just called plain old 'punk' when they started playing it. "Less is More" is a comprehensive collection of tracks culled from singles and EP's and what-the-fucks from the early 90's to a couple weeks ago (or so), and it's all gruff and grunting punch-punk with a few tasty rock n' rollicks thrown in for good measure and lotsa rhyming lyrics about cheap American beer and jail. Pretty boss for ones so wretched, and if yr wondering how much more punk you can get than the W.O's., the answer is simple - None. None more punk.



Dig this- Catharsis is a full length album, yet it's only got three tracks. I bet you're way ahead of me already. Yep, Yob is doom. Not Ultra-Doom or Total-Doom, but certainly All-encompassing-Doom. They sound pretty much exactly like how you'd feel after downing a 32 ouncer of Nyquil on a rainy Sunday afternoon- sweaty and sleepy and under the spell of wild hallucinations. From the wilds of Oregon, by way of the rings of Saturn, Yob are the crucial link between Cathedral and the Allman Brothers, spreadin' their crazy cosmic dirtfuzz and space rattle all over the ever-expanding soundscape like the janitors of God on a bumtrip. Can you really jam at half-speed? Well, yeah, I reckon you can, because with 18-23 minute tracks on deck, it's obvious that Yob are all about free-balling 'til they're satisfied. Man, doom has never sounded so fuckin' alive. At times, they seem to forget all about grinding out the sub-sonic miseries, and just take to flying, space-stoner style, like Lunar tokers Sheavy, and it's a vapor trailing blast, a beautiful rumbling from the heart of the sun. "Catharsis" is no mere stoner-bait, puny earthman, it's a great pulsating purple satellite broadcasting freaky plasma paintings on the faces of angels. Ok, maybe it's just the Nyquil talking, but this fucker is gonna take you someplace warm and wet and pulsating comfortably, that's for damn sure. Catharsis? Indeed.



The Illusion of Motion
The End

Time to take another trip across the limitless seas of sonic cacophony, those big fucking seas they are, and I can't fucking wait. But in the midst of all the flailing of limbs, the gnashing of teeth, and Sunn amps on 15, there is a different world just parallel to ours, where there are limitless amounts of buxom teenage She-babes endlessly banging their slightly firmer than usual knockers against the wall of their confines trying to wake up cousin Ed and his ailing grandfather next door. But cousin Ed won't let that old man have any fun, will he? No, he wants all of them bountiful bundles of goodness all for himself, that selfish prick. That buttfucking ambulance chaser with a hard-on for the long lost sullen flesh of years past. (You know the type, this town is full of them.) Just take a walk for a few, you will have a list by the time you get back. So, not to let this man die without a smile on his face, I feel this ungodly burning need to impose my will at this particular time. So. Mr. "I'm going to turn a car over because our team won." Can you and your significant other, "Miss Future Brood Mare Of The Fucking State who actually cares what Jewel thinks and judges humanity by the type of socks they wear", Can you please take those chains off that old codger and let him have a go at the good life for 5 minutes before he has a heart attack and dies or I'm going to unload this Miss 45 in your fucking faces? When Mr. Wonderful and the future Eva Braun finally agrees to do this, (with much deliberation from their lawyers), the poor bastard has a heart attack and dies right after he stands up and says " I'm free!". Well, he died happy. Problem is, they should have done that a long time ago. Sounds allot like the things that are happening around us right this very second. But worded a little differently.

But does this CD sound like that? No, it does not sound like that at all. Yob's newest release makes me recall that scene in the 13th Warrior when the Vikings were sailing across the seas swaying back and forth on and on with the waves crashing over the sides of the ship with beaming happy looks like a bunch of school kids on a Disney ride, with one guy looking like he is in a desperate need of a sick bag. But he eventually comes around waving his sword like a maniac around saying over and over again, "it's a man." And that is a good thing too. At least he won't be turning any cars over.

-Greg D


Death Alley
Aces and Eights

If I just go ahead and call Zeke a bunch of wormy fuckin' punks who are riding the dive-bombing tail of the redneck metal fad into the ground, than I'll be besieged with angry letters and threatening phone calls from their bizarre legion of half backpacker-half headbanger retard fans who soak up every 2 minute spiral of pointlessness they crank out like they were shiny new gifts from Santa Claus. They'd hate to hear that Zeke are nothing but a scrawny imitation of Speedealer, without even that foolish band's psychotic trailer park, petty criminal authenticity. They certainly wouldn't dig me calling their heroes the indie-rock loser's Motorhead, or that this whole silly genre is a ruse propagated by ex-hardcore punks that finally figured out that all the pussy and the cash is in rock and roll. No favor will be curried my way by the whiskey and 'Planet of the Apes' club if I say that this sorry assed bag of jerks are faking the funk, and that the only time they ever sound passably good is when they slow down enough to rip off AC/DC for 10 seconds. So I won't. I don't need the hassle. And when I pass this record off to the tweaker at the record store, bringing me two bucks closer to that 'Spiceworld' dvd, I'll just shrug, smile, and say, as Eddie Spaghetti once did, "Let the punks be punks, so we can play that rock and roll." He'll probably take it home and rock out to it, but, you know. That guy's got problems.



Zeke You! (DVD)
Dead Teenager

Zeke is just a bunch of yelling and screaming, really, but it's yelling and screaming with all the right references, which is why Zeke get a posthumous DVD for their efforts instead of a scathing review in Maximum Rock and Roll and a disastrous stint in a free-care rehab as a parting gift. I mean, they might get those things too, but a DVD is pretty swank, right? So let this be a lesson to you- you really don't have to stray one berserk Bo Diddley riff away from Motorhead just to make it in rock and roll. All you really need is to get a Rat Fink tattoo on yr neck, and wear Venom t-shirts onstage, and slowly let yr hair snake out from short haired punk boy to scraggly, drug-damaged rock n' roll savage in the dizzy span of half a dozen wasted years. I know, that sounds like a lotta effort, but what else are you gonna do with the rest of the decade?

Thirty eight days is all takes in order to lose all common sense from lack of sleep. It's no wonder after watching this documentary on Zeke, that half the battle is distinguishing their blank stares and impaired speech. Amid the numerous live performances, you'll gain a brief insight of the band backstage or pit stops in pawn shops. While the camera focuses in on 9mm, it overlooks the real reason they're there - to bail out their equipment they pawned for weed. Keenan Kelly, also risking his life and sleep, interviews the band and fans that range from gutter punks to women who will and do cheat.

Aside from the brief, and amusing segment when they ask a buncha cowboys and sour-faced girls what 'good time rock and roll' means (drugs, sex, and beer appears the be common consensus), the 'documentary' aspect of Zeke You mostly involves some choppy clips featuring low-level in-jokes and drawling commentary from the band; rolling hi-8 snapshots taken in motel parking lots and chick-less parties at various stops on the lonesome highway. I think the idea here is to really get to know Zeke, ya know, beyond the public image they've cultivated as snarky nerds-gone-wild. Umm, this really didn't do that, tho. I learned that monosyllabic drummer Donny Paycheck looks, and acts, just like the drummer from the Rock School comic, and that they like eatin' cheeseburgers, but I cannot tell you whether they believe in a vengeful or merciful God, or whether any of them have ever killed anything bigger than a box turtle. These are the kind of probing interviews I would've asked. Unless I was as drunk as everybody else, of course, which completely explains the inscrutable, and largely uneventful, interview segments. Drunk band, drunk cameraman, drunk cowboys, drunk, drunk, drunk. Well, ok. So, scratching the 'documentary' aspect, we are left with one vital component- the Rock.

Personally, Zeke's soupy speed trials have always left me cold (I love their 70's superrockin' offshoot Camarosmith, tho, so save yer invective- at least until the new Speed Dealer record comes out), so it's not like I expected to get fully rocked by a handful of ramshackle live recordings- however, I gotta say that when Zeke slow down to a highsteppin' thunderboogie gait, they absolutely blaze, and they do that at least a couple times here. Mostly, tho, it's chaotic, hardcore rock n' roll flailing, and even if that's not my particular cup of tea or poison, I know that Smutstrutter, and just about every other in-the-know 23 year old with sex and chemical addictions and propensities for violence and hazardous driving can't get enough of this stuff. And fuck, it's for them anyway, right? For all the crazy girls and their biker boyfriends, this has gotta be the home video of the fuckin' year, because there's tons of turbo-charged Zekenoise here. And they appear to wear the same t-shirts throughout their tour, which is pretty cool. You might as well smell like rock and roll, too, ya know?

I am still unsure whether Zeke are officially broken up or not (they just signed to metal label Relapse, so I'm guessing no), but they supposedly fractured into brittle splinters during their 2002 European tour, and "Zeke You" proper ends with a few segments from that fateful trip. The most amusing has to be Zeke's hassling of a couple of overly-polite locals in Stuttgart, Germany. Apparently that town didn't rock enough for Zeke.

Girl: Was sagt er?
Guy: Eh, he says our hair is too nice.

As with any DVD released just before Xmas, Zeke You contains it's share of 'extras'. There's a very nicely shot mini-doc shot at one of Seattle's famed and fabled "Pain the Grass" outdoor festivals, in 1996. The band looked like baby-faced punk rockers at that point- it's fun to compare and contrast with the surly, freak-bearded burnouts they've become- and although the interviews didn't illuminate much even back then, the live footage is sharp, the crowd wild, and it looks like everybody had a blast putting it together. There's also a low-budget video for "Highway Star" (certainly one of their best songs), filled with plenty of live footage, and two more even lower budgeted videos, featuring lots of blurry, out-of synch, black and white, super 8 footage. Total fan stuff, really, but who the fuck else would be buying a Zeke DVD? Oh, and I gotta mention the original drummer's KISS t-shirt in the '96 footage. On the back of the shirt it says, "I wanted the best, and I got the best." I swear to God, I fuckin' hate KISS.

Seattle, for some reason, is not on my top ten places to see. It reminds me of a cold dark, moist place, kind of like what a shroud would provide me. Good Time Rock N' Roll is what the band claims to be, but in no inch of this footage and audio that was shot on mini and HI-8 is the theme song for Dukes Of Hazard played. When fans are asked what 'Good Time Rock N' Roll' means, many reply with the same thing. Never once after abusing women, alcohol, and cocaine has this lead to many good things. Usually I end up broke, lonely, or (for instance now), with a blistering bruise on my knee. If you asked me, Zeke arouse octane fury even without cocaine. Chicks willing to bare their tits naturally do not come without the supply of speed. Speed, as in both meanings. Up-your-ass Rock N' Roll, to me, would be a more suitable name. I can't help butt to be anal about labeling the band's sound correctly. Like my knee, it's a blistering bruise that doesn't hit you hard until days later,and just when you think they'e over, there's always some table corner or new trick up Zeke's sleeves.

The idea of an upstart, low budget indie Rawk label like Dead Teenager releasing a DVD, which was formerly the domain of big money majors, is a huge step in the right direction. What with downloading chewing a big hole into the profits of just about every label, outfits like Dead Teenager and, well, Sleazegrinder Records, are gonna have to a lot more inventive if they wanna stay afloat. Me, I'm gonna offer pills and free blowjobs from low level porn stars on my next few records, but a visual document like this is a pretty nifty package, as well. If yr not already a Zeke fan, than this exercise in blown out audio and shaky, guerilla filmmaking is not gonna make you one; but if you're down with their AC/DC-gone-wrong thrasharama, then Merry Fuckin' Christmas, baby.

- Sleazegrinder & Smutstrutter


Chiefs and Captains

Although I am sure there will always plenty of frizzy brained weed fiends content with wearing out the thighs on their corduroys, staring at blacklight Kyuss posters, and wishin' for the days when Kozik was king, but it's nice to see cats like these here smirky Fins blasting right past the stoner metal truck stop and freely embracing the untamed glories of ego-driven Super Rock. Not unlike Spoiler, Zerocharisma write the biggest riffs humanly possible and beat you over the head with them until something breaks. Best of all, they possess a full-throated bad ass up front, the confusingly named Manne Ikonen, who's sounds every bit the bare-chested rock god a band like this needs to drive 'em over the top. 5 songs here, each one power-packed and action fueled, but opener "Cobra Leg" stands out, both for it's flowing Roadsaw riffs and some of the most savage rock drumming since Rob Wacko Hunter was lighting himself ablaze. Also, I think it's about Super Sperm, which is cool. Charisma they may lack, but the Rock? That, they got plenty of.


Zombina and the Skeletones

Taste the Blood Of...
Towsley Sound

Opener "The Grave...and Beyond!" starts out sounding just like Bow Wow Wow's "I Want Candy", and then flows seamlessly, and impressively, into what I can only describe as a bubblegum Misfits track. Then "Nobody Likes You When You're Dead" kicks in, sounding like that chick from the Primitives fronting a pop metal Archies, or whatever the undead version would be. To be honest, I really have no idea what's going on with these teenage zombies from beyond the UK, but I do know that this is one of the coolest pop records I've heard in ages, maybe ever. I mean, we're dealing with an entirely new formula here, which was surely concocted in some mad scientist's lab, and it's got everything from Spaghetti western gunfighter guitars to spangly Brit powerpop to sugary-sweet girl group harmonies, and it's all wrapped up in a groovy ghoulie package. The picture stamped on the CD- a bowl of fruit loops floating in either blood or chocolate, perhaps both- sums it all up perfectly. Goddamn, I love creepy girls.




Ok, so the name's kinda jerky, even for icy-cold Norwegians, but the nailgun-to-the-forehead pounding you get from "Aeon" all but makes up for it. Zyklon is an ex-Emperor supergroup, more powerful than 17 locomotives and able to crush quaint villages under it's big black Frankenstein boots in a single devilchord. That distinctive Emperorical wall of barbed wire grind is still evident here, but that band's relentless cacophony is tempered with a more surgically striking thrash metal attack and mercifully, the gruesome twosome vocal styles of black metal- screech n' growl- are jettisoned for a far more rock-friendly (well, not friendly, but you know what I mean) dead man's rasp. There's all sorts of experimental squiggles lurking in the corners, and when they wanna, as on the monstrous "Subtle Manipulation", they just go ahead and burn everything in their path with a blistering death/thrash assault. State of the art, heavy as a nagasonic teenage warhead, and meaner than a junkyard dog, Zyklon is about as fierce and menacing as guys from Norway wearing black leather trenchcoats and Terminator shades can possibly get. Kaboom!

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