Saturday, December 24, 2011

Advanced Demonology Podcast Lesson 2

Hey - Sleazegrinder and his haunted pal Swilson have an occult rock podcast! Check it out:


This month's lesson: Demons. And what better time than Christmas to play songs about Satan's gremlins? Christmas brings out the demons in everyone. Thusly, a night of demonic bellowing awaits you. But that's not all! We've also got long-forgotten acid-folkies, demented loner-rockers and psychedelic outsiders, groovy dollybirds and Detroit freakrockers, drug-damaged punks and mustache bandits playing flutes through giant stacks of Marshall Amps. All this and more in Lesson 2 of Advanced Demonology!

Download/stream/listen HERE

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Flash Metal Suicide - The Birthday Party


The Birthday Party
Junkyard
1982, Missing Link Records 
By Stu Gibson

'Fucking Rotten Business This.'

No shit, sunshine. The Birthday Party landed in London in 1979 after fleeing post-apocalypse Australia, their barren, desecrated homeland. The nightmarish visions they saw there were relayed to the folk of the totally unaware and unsuspecting UK and filtered down to OK, so part of that is from Mad Max but they ain't a jalopy ride jammed full o' junk away from those customised go-karts used to hare up and down the desert in those films, breathing radiation fumes and sicker than the sole survivor. They brought this menace of rumbling, earth-shattering cataclysms with their music too,  eventually finding a home in the burgeoning goth scene springing up like bats outta the belfry at the time. And also like every other 'goth' band of the time they vehemently denied ever been so, despite old Nick Cave's hair putting Robert Smith's barnet of a few years later to shame in the shade. Of course, just like Bauhaus were taking the piss out of all the goths that became goths precisely because of Bauhaus. Poor old Pete Murphy's still hung up about it (literally, it seems, check out the comedy interview in Uncut, June '05). Oh yes, did I forget to mention (did you not know?) that The Birthday Party were the irrepressible old devil's first band? Back when he was large of barnet and full of enough drugs to kill Keef'n' Iggy in one hit. They actually began life in a more sedate tho' still contradictory, manner under the moniker of The Boys Next Door. Now, I'm not gonna be all pseudo-knowledgable and sit here and say 'Yeah it wasn't as mental as The Birthday Party, maan', which, by all accounts (or the two I've read anyway) they weren't, as I've never heard this early incarnation and frankly my dear readers I couldn't care less. But I can take it as read that twas only after they arrived in London and starved in a scummy house somewhere that madness found them and festered on them for a good few years, forcing them out into venues the world over to screech, wail and generally try to rid their poor possessed souls and bodies of the infernal forces that had taken control of their skinny ribcaes. Such as heroin. And alcohol.


'Welcome To The Car Crash'
they trooped over to London in the bright, hopeful era of 1980 to fuck things up a little, our denizens of random destruction, fucked themselves up completely then hit a slight nail of luck and were able to start surviving and perform some vicious primal scream...not therapy, just plain primal screaming would do for them, they didn't care about ever recovering. They were a mess both physically and musically. And these apocalypse dudes would also inadvertently show Bauhaus for the art school pansies that they were. However, tho the invaders would never write anything as sublime as 'Dark Entries',  the native wusses would cower as their tedious noir 'Spy In The Cab' was taunted and then trounced by lolloping juggernauts like 'The Friend Catcher' (interestingly featuring a Suicide-ish riff that Spacemen 3 would base their entire 9-minute plus nightmare drone 'Suicide' around). A weird, no, hold on, the most bizarre alien swamp stew of bestialized blues, a few dying fragments of rockabilly after they've ransacked rockabilly HQ razing it to

their own version of Hell, ditto a few pieces of free jazz clinging to a mountain edge with pleading eyes having its fingers being lifted off one by one, it's last vision one of Nick's leering visage, Captain Beefheart, Pere Ubu ('New Picnic Time' era), The Stooges on some seriously bad acid to toss out an old cliche, possibly The Fall too who at times walk a similar line of willfully ruined rackets. As played by5 monstered Aussies in their own little worlds and not, seemingly, the same song at the same time (kinda like The Replacements instrument swapping but in a forreal bizarro jazzo 'Funhouse' mode - of which The Birthday Party deliver a shocking end of world version on the 'Live '81-'82' set, which is honestly seriously disturbing) with a relentless dynamism, an energy so restless that it suggests a serious hyperactive disorder all round...a cold, alienating, ugly arctic squall at once disorientating yet seductive. No wonder they got so recklessly into smack, they probably needed the extra drugs to straighten out and get on an even keel after subjecting themselves to what came out when they picked up an instrument.


On top of all this Cave screeched, brayed like a very pissed off mule and occasionally crooned but generally sounded like somebody was alternately crushing his voicebox as you would a paper bag before binning it, and shoving, or trying to, horrible instruments of torture up his back passage like a puppet of De Sade. Like Lemmy said about being used to the Rock'n'Roll lifestyle and colossal volume, that you get used to it in a way you'd get used to someone coming around and hitting you on the head at 7:30 every morning (tho' I, for one, aren't particularly sure about that one), you become accustomed to The Birthday Party, like you get lured into a great, or rather good (there's precious few great ones) horror film, enjoying the sensory battery to the extent where what you get off on is the sheer intensity, chaotic lunacy and violent excess. Akin to the old adage that you're irresistibly drawn to a car wreck and have an insatiable curiosity to seethe results. And then they invited us to this savage, and depraved disco diabolique! Their gigs were apparently pretty violent affairs.  I can imagine, Cave's insanity seen on Bad Seeds gigs is testament to what went on at Party gigs. Reading the 'Bad Seed' biog, apparently Cave wasn't averse to jumping into audiences to give someone a quick clip round the earhole. As can be heard on the 'Live '81-'82' album where Nick, presumably replying to some sarky heckler just utters 'Yes, I like your hair too sonny' with a tasty hit of malice.

'A gross gang of ghost types...'

I heard The Birthday Party for the first time, after reading about them, and hearing them mentioned in whispered asides, finally in 1992. When you're a youngster it seems to have been loads of mentions and they take on a romantic semi-mythical status. I only ever managed to get 'Big-Jesus-Trash-Can' on a free tape compiled by John Peel from his favourite Peel Sessions issued with Select magazine (for he, rather unsurprisngly, was quite taken with them). It tied in with it being around this time that 4AD, Mute or whoever the fuck it was, issued the 'Hits' album, that I always intended to get and never ever did. Phewww. I actually got a taped copy of it a few years back and I think I've played it about twice, and I might play it once while writing this. Maybe. Y'see, 'Big-Jesus-Trash-Can' is an awesome calamity, where all planets aligned and all The Birthday Party's kinda coalesced into something actuallyr esembling a song. Almost like listening to some old Rockabilly but after the radio's been chucked underwater, taste-tested by a Great White and systematically smashed against a wall by Jerry Lee Lewis, whatever slivers of a song remains...
Or perhaps it's just simply their most accessible song and I'm a big jessie who can't handle his noise.

Complete abandon yet, a sprightly Captain Beefheart riff, like insane laughing hyenas atop a thunderous, malevolent, angry bass and drum combo (the rhythm section usually at least sounded like they were playing the same song in the same room) while Nick rants about some semblance of a story featuring oil and Texas and, quite possibly, Elvis, ('Wears a suit of Gold (got greasy hair)'). I loved it and still do which is why I always so disappointed when I got around to more Birthday Party records. Not that they're crap. In fact, at times they can be great, for a few seconds or minutes anyway, they're just... I guess it's the same mentality of people who listen to Miles Davis' free jazz skronk noodling and enjoy it (or claim to, man). 'Bitches Brew' is utter bollocks, I don't care how clever iti s. before I get going...I picked up 'Live'81-'82' a few years ago too, and again realised that glad the party went on without me. I was a happy wallflower in this instance, for, whilst being quite agreeably insane and noisesome it's far too much hard to play very often. It's almost something akin to a good friend, that you hang out with every so often (maybe they live out of town), but when they have a few drinks they think it's a good idea to beat living crap out of you, before buying you a drink. But music that's played by a whole family of such people. As much as I love Big Black, JAMC and so on listening to The Birthday Party is more out of a to see if I've got more amenable to it or if it's still like a ghost in the closet to a child that you shut the door on asap. It is a case of 'it' and not 'them' as it's almost like the spawned a monster, scraping and screeling guitars howling like tortured animals. Or the birth of a hungry alien, or prehistoric reptile, or prehistorcalien reptileeven, crawing for mother.


Demented Are Go
So we come to 'Junkyard' - their second album proper, after 1981's 'Prayers On Fire'. Why 'Junkyard'? Two reasons - a/ cos it's got 'Big-Jesus-Trash-Can' on it,b/I don't have 'Prayers On Fire'. Actually, I didn't have 'Junkyard' till last weekend, when I burnt it off my girlfriend. But when I was young and poor it was the one I wanted. Good enough? Crashing straight in like a motorway pile-up with 'Blast Off', huge canyon collapsing basslines, tinny guitar scars Cave and co sound like they're etching sketches in sheet metal. A frantic, garbled, deranged funk freakout that they slopped out every so often (such as the earlier 'Zoo Music Girl'). It strikes me as a soundtrack to Mr. Cave's 1989 novel 'And The Ass Saw The Angel', perhaps due to the title being along similar lines, but also cos that makes about as much sense as, well, The Birthday Party in general.

No, really, because songs like 'Hamlet (Pow, Pow, Pow)' seem to be narratives, however distorted, cut-up and nonsensical they may be, of strange, perverse creatures in small towns you only thought existed in your nightmares.

Surging powerlines like a moray eel shooting out it's cave and back quick as a flash. Like Big Black without the tunes, I've always thought. I read in the 'Bad Seed' biog that by the time of 'Junkyard' heroin had such a grip that focus had been lost as well as the necessary energy levels required to churn out such high-intensity music, especially from the vertigo inducing feelings it causes anyway, just listening to it sat down, never mind rehearsing and writing it day in and day out. It's not a bad record, but doesn't stick in your head much, I guess cos while you're playing it it's simultaneously battering brain cells into oblivion and it's a pretty cold, unloveable, unfeeling, unemotional landscape they populated, leaving you feeling as though you've just listened to an aural lobotomy. But it has it's high points with 'She's Hit', a supinely spooky crawl I take to be documenting the aftermath of an overdose or murder, a sort of warped 'Fever' with Johnny Thunders woozy OD guitar scratches, wailing wall vocals creating a definite macabre theatre of the grotesque, cold as a corpse and 'Dead Joe', presaging Big Black's 'Jordan, Minnesota' or 'Bazooka Joe' by three years or so, muddy river corpses strewn in its wake...battering ram bass blasts from Tracy Pew, razor thin guitar cuts (that Big Black co-opted along the way too), slashing at you like the scenes of poor l'il ol' Jesus in 'The Passion Of The Christ', at times reminiscent of Bauhaus' 'Of Lillies And Remains' (perhaps they were both taking the piss out of each other for being the bigger goths) then at others mutilating classic Chuck Berry lines. The title track itself is a lumbering behemoth, a slow, cruel torture - 'hack hack hack hack hack this heavenly body' - like being used as a punchbag and enjoying it. Brutal. 'The Dim Locator' has a waltzy, sarcastic, taunting guitar line and is bounced along on a rockabilly swing rhythm to be another of their more accessible tunes. '6" Gold Blade' is an early example of Cave's murder ballad obsession ('I stuck a six-inch gold blade in the head of a girl...Oh baby, those skinny girls, they're so quick to murder') and 'Release The Bats' is a clear example of the earlier mentioned piss taking of Goths ('A hundred fluttering in your skirt...Her legs are chafed by sticky wings') and is another demonstration of their hairspray assaulting mutant flailing tribal funk as thought they were also taking a dig at young Adam Ant. Actually, probably more like taking a whip to him. Cave going into his best Iggy impressions ('Eeeurrghhh!') and chasing the song around like a circus master having a breakdown.

Weirdly, I've never recommended The Birthday Party to anybody I don't think, 'cept to sample some sheer mad creepiness, but their vicious nightmare vision is a nasty, sinister, sadistic pleasure. A musical soundtrack to a Bucking Bronco rodeo ride, indeed, one craaaaazzy fucking ride. Man. And the influence of their nightmarish post-apocalypse nuclear holocaust paranoia lives on as seen in bands like The Membranes and Gallon Drunk through to The 80's Matchbox B-Line Disaster and Manchester's own purveyors of slightly wonky bonkersbilly blues gunk JackieO today. And of course John Robb then of The Membranes would christen his gang of soul punk revolution Rockas GoldBlade. Tho' size is undetermined.

-FIN-





-Stu Gibson, who IS  quite fond of the other kind of birthday parties. With cake, you know.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Jaded Sun


Gypsy Trip
Sian Records

This further crunk of classic rawk excavated from Ireland’s increasingly reinvigorated tradition of boisterous blues snaps at, if not through, the heels of Glyder’s trip through Thin Lizzy’s shires and The Answer’s cliché clawing from Led Zep. A bluesier and, paradoxically, slightly more individual effort, for all the references you can sift through, be it Free, Humble Pie and even Kingdom Come. Sure, there’s bluster n’ fluff a plenty but they do the AC/DC kinda cramp kinda well on Breaking Through, thankyou, and Hey You, Faces bar-ward shuffle to be served by the Quireboys on Can’t Stop but glossy grunge of He Knows Home and ball-shrivelling ballad Crave mire it in meandering MOR. But ‘tis undoubted commercial clout that sees it clogged by singles that almost write their own video scripts that should see them cemented in success, especially stateside and on fields of Euro festivals.


- Stu Gibson

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dropkick Murphys

The State of Massachusetts EP
Cooking Vinyl

I decided to listen to the new Dropkicks EP when I was hungover. Not deathly hungover-there was no danger of vomit-but lazily, lethargically hungover, with a slight dehydration cramp in my right calf. But I'll be damned if rollicking opener "The State of Massachusetts" didn't make me want to grab the almost-empty bottles from the counter, drain the dregs into a glass, slam it all back with a shudder, and then do a slam-dance jig. (I didn't, due mostly to the lethargic nature of the hangover, but I really really wanted to.) "The Thick Skin of Defiance" would have kept me dancing (had I actually been dancing) and "Breakdown" would have had me scrounging around in the back of the fridge, hoping for some leftover beer. And then, mercifully, "Forever" came on, a melancholy-but-hopeful ballad backed by haunting Celtic flutes-the exact sound of my hangover-so I stayed curled up on the couch. Lovely.




-Holly

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dimmu Borgir

World Misanthropy (DVD)
Nuclear Blast 

The second biggest black metal band in the world break the bank on a stunning 3 disc DVD set of their shrieking, industrial strength devil rock, and by the end of this exhausting ode to the spoils of high gloss Satanism, you'll know the boys in black better than their own girlfriends. Disc one takes you deep inside their triumphant "World Misanthropy" tour, and when I say deep, I mean that besides the impeccably choreographed and executed live renditions of wordy caterwauling like "The Blazing Monolith of Defiance" and "Kings of the Carnival Creation", the disc is littered with snippets of goofy rock band on tour hijinks, including a hotel bathroom trashing and plenty of tour bus torture. Maybe it's the swanky coach, or just the luck of the high cheekboned, but Dimmu possess none of the fabled "unrelenting grimness" associated with black metal bands, coming off more as politely mischievous rock and rollers out for a laugh than they do Satan's left hand henchmen. Lack of bloodshed and virgin killing not withstanding, the live clips are massive, towering infernos of haunted fun house excitement, crisply photographed and edited, like an awards show extravaganza from the shores of the river Styx. Disc two is live festival footage, raw and heavy, the third disc is bonus audio tracks from Japanese pressings and elsewhere, and it's all wrapped up in a package that unfolds into an upside down cross, like Danzig with a budget. Since you're going to Hell anyway, you might as well do it with style, sinner.




- Sleaze

Friday, December 16, 2011

Goathorn

Voyage to Nowhere 
Goathorn on Myspace

 This was the best heavy fuckin' metal record I heard in 2002. Canadian doom-demons Goathorn liked to drink and play thrash metal, but doing both at once is what they dug the most. This record is the result of all that angry debauchery, and it sounds like Pentagram playing "Ride the Lightning" with that crazy fucker from NME on bass. The riffs are absolutely relentless, like tattoo needles carving desperate cries for help right into your skull, and it's all so heavy it feels like the floor's going to cave in. Jason Decay's vocals are rife with acidic phlegm, as he spins one tale of cosmic disillusionment after another- no redemption on this voyage, that's for sure-and the rest of the band is equally potent, a power trio in the purest sense. The album's highlights have got to be the title track, with it's Iron Maiden/High on Fire signature riff running headlong into a wall of pure doom that doesn't let up for almost 8 minutes, and the Venom-ous punk metal instrumental closer "Death March", which would impress even Cronos and the boys. "Voyage to Nowhere" is an absolute monster. Don't hesitate to ride this horn.


PS: The band broke up in 2006 and Decay formed the still-running Cauldron in its wake.



- Sleaze

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Caliban Sessions

Caliban Sessions #1

No, not the Taliban Sessions. That would have a completely different vibe. What we've got here is a loose configuration of Norwegian Super-rockers- members of Black Debbath, The Cumshots, Thulsa Doom, and the Oslo Motherfuckers, among others- freaking freely in El Doom's studio. Think of it as a "Desert Sessions", only with no desert, just frozen tundras and plenty of that fucked up Scandinavian liquor that makes you go blind if you drink it too fast. And unlike Kyuss and pals, these cats ain't a bunch of pot-smoking hippies, so there's no stoner-jazz on display. There are bongos, though. Opener "Your Hair used to be as Black (as my Bloodshot Eyes)" couldn't possibly be as good as it's title, and it's not, but it lays down a nice bed of hard charging freedom rock accented with boss WAR percussion. Elsewhere, "Rebellion Riders of a New Generation" sounds like Lou Reed jamming with Mike Monroe and Aerosmith, "Little Hippie Girl" is a soaring powerpop track with an insane new wave keyboard banging away in the background and a Rick Springfield (!) guitar solo, "The Genuine Caliban Grooves" is an organ drenched slice of super-soul power, heavy on the groove and peppered with a goddamn flute, "Ride that Bullet Train" is rip-snorting arena grunge, and the epic closer "God Stood Me Up" is every stoner rock song ever written, played all at once. The Caliban Sessions is like being on a subway train that stops in a different country every three minutes. It's exhausting and exotic, and like nothing you'd expect from a gang full of fuzz metal pushers and blood drinking death n' rollers. Unless you expected flutes.

- Sleaze

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Iron Savior

Condition Red
Noise Records 


Condition Red is my favorite power metal record of all time. Now, it's true that I've never had a favorite power metal record before this one. In fact, I've always thought the whole pompous genre to be the stuff of day-dreaming adolescent males, cashing in on the emotional safety net of dungeons and dragons fantasies because they're scared of girls. And it still is, mind you, but Germany's Iron Savior has managed to crawl out of the Rune throwing basement to flex their armor in the black sunshine, and it's a joyful, bracing noise indeed. Chugging guitars, sounds like hundreds of them, come flying out of the speakers like black arrows of death, aimed straight at the heart of all those that play false metal, as well as anyone else in their path. The soaring rhythms gallop and crash like apocalyptic horsemen, and Piet Sielck's classic full octave pipes belt out chest thumping Canterbury tales about valor and honor and all sorts of things that none of us actually possess. I'm pretty sure that I'm on the side of the "God of Depravity" that Iron Savior seem intent on vanquishing, but there's nothing wrong with a little respect and begrudging admiration for the enemy. Besides all the war dances and victory songs, "Condition Red" even includes a (limited edition bonus track) righteous power ballad filled with steam and bluster called "Crazy" which the wife tells me was originally by silky soul man Seal, but sounds remarkably true to form. Despite the dubious company bands like Iron Savior keep, "Condition Red" makes me want to strap on kind of chest plate, pick up the nearest broadsword, and go out smiting an arch foe or two. And not in a gay way, either.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.



- Sleaze

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Brothers of Conquest

All the Colors of Darkness
Go-Kart Records


I had this Satanic 70's tuxedo once. It was black, with flared legs and a blood red ruffled shirt with big pointy collars like Ming the Merciless. I don't know where the sadistic designer expected you to show up wearing this thing, except for maybe a cock-fight, or an Italian snuff film shoot? Anyway, one night I got drunk and put it on and decided to go show it off somewhere. Imagine that, I ended up at the rock show. Half Cocked were playing, and I wanted to impress their foxy singer with my slinky threads, so I stumbled into the Paradise club, dressed up to get messed up. Nashville Pussy were headlining, and right in the middle of the night's festivities were these Kentucky fried rock savages, The Hookers. I was early, so I watched the bands' sound checks, and after seeing the boss t-shirts the cats in the Hookers were sporting, decided I wanted one for myself. I staggered over to the merch guy, and I said, "Hey man, I want a Hookers shirt, but I want one like you've got, with 'Rock and Roll Motherfucker' on the back." He says, "Sorry man", in that 'Aw-shucks' southern drawl, "Those are just for the band and crew." Then he tries to hustle me one of their one-sided flying skull shirts for 15 bucks. But you know, I'm drunk. "C'mon, man", I plead, "I'm out here on the front lines, I'm in the trenches, I need one of those shirts." He just shrugs. He can't help me, bro. "Dude, look at how I'm fuckin' dressed here", I point out, tugging at my double-wide collar. "Isn't it obvious? I'm not just a rock and roll motherfucker, I'm the Goddamn last of the rock and roll motherfuckers!" He did not sell me the shirt that night, but thus was the Sleazegrinder motto born.

What's this got to do with the Brothers of Conquest? Everything, man, because BOC were the Hookers resurrected and super-sized.

Whereas the original band was a Johnny Thunders-bolted swagger punk band that somehow mutated into Slayer on a paper thin budget- their flashpots were soup cans the night I saw them- The BOC took that same Satan metal punk n' roll premise and chainsaw sculpted it into an inarguably potent force of leather and spikes rock and roll. I mean, this is serious business, and BOC slams your skull right into their big ballsy hooks and yanks you around like a panicked Barracuda, hanging on by a bloody thread as they mess you up but good with sizzling guitar villainy and a lusty battle roar- these are Rock Star songs, baby, Buckcherry wishes they wrote these kind of catchy riffs and rousing biker gang choruses and death-defying redneck Hellparty anthems. The whole thing brings to mind a line from that other, reaper baiting BOC- "On your feet, or on your knees"- because those are the only options "All the Colors..." gives you. You'd better decide which side of the revolution you're on before you push play, because the results will be both swift and brutal. If you've ever wondered what 10 years of cheap drugs, horror movies, the road, Venom, Chuck Berry, and backyard Satanism sounds like, well here it is, in all it's ragged glory. All hail the Brothers of Conquest, for they will lead us to victory in the rock and roll war. Or at least to a really bitchin' beer party in the woods.



PS: And then the Hookers got back together. Life is a circle.

- Sleaze

Monday, December 12, 2011

Burner


One for the Road
Arctic Music Group

I never expected to hear any band straddle grunge and death metal in the same career, never mind the same fucking song, but Burner are operating under a whole new set of rules. This Floridian supergroup, littered as it is with ex-death and thrash metal dudes ( Paingod, Monstrosity, Divine Empire) still retain an edge of razor wire extremity to their sound, infusing elements of the more virulent strains of metal- think Obituary- with southern styled hard rock- think COC and Black label Society- for a bracing set of bullgod American death n' roll. Admittedly, the death metal barking that explodes without warning throughout the proceedings is a little jarring, but old habits die hard, and they add an unexpected edge of ferocity to "One For the Road". For the most part though, they lean more in the direction of muddy, sun-baked grooves than they do mosh-pit mayhem, and it's a rebel flag waving roar of booze, fast cars and all night fist fights, with at least one chest thumping classic in the awesomely titled "Five Pills (and a bottle of whiskey)", complete with Zakk Wylde guitar squeals and a "By God, I'm the Man" refrain that rivals Nashville Pussy for dangerous redneck macho thunder. Elsewhere, there's the out-right cock rock of "Whiskey Dick", the Alice in Chains meets Cannibal Corpse (!) death grunge of "Broken", and the gas guzzling outlaw anthem "Rollin' Disaster" to keep you speeding down the highway and howling like an enraged monkey. "One For the Road" is one for the bad asses.



- Sleaze

Friday, December 09, 2011

Cripple Creek Fairies


Curl Up And Die
Transistor 66

The dudes from The Cripple Creek Fairies like to wear Snoopy vs. The Red Baron-type old aviator hats and glasses, which I think is kind of cool. Must get kind of hot onstage, although not as hot as a teddy bear costume, or one of those Gwar outfits, or even KISS makeup, I guess. For shtick, it's pretty good, and I'm not usually a fan of the gimmick. But I digress...

So the band hails from Calgary, Alberta, which is one of the western Canadian provinces. I lived there for a few years when I was a kid. Calgary is known for its annual Stampede, which involves a lot of cowboys competing in cowboy competitions: hog-tying, bronco-riding, baked bean-eating, that sort of thing. The Stampede is a big deal. But I digress again...

In case you haven't figured it out, these digressions are really just my way of procrastinating: I played this record a bunch of times because it didn't immediately suck me in, and even after the repeated listenings, it still hasn't really sucked me in. Nice heavy basslines, some wailing guitar solos, and pleasantly-whiny vocals that just don't add up to a lot of excitement, for some reason. But I guess that's just the way it goes, sometimes. Ah well...



-Holly

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Flash Metal Suicide: Britny Fox


Britny Fox
Britny Fox
1988, Sony

Anybody raised on radio in America's suffered endlessly through that old Foreigner rotter, "Jukebox Hero" about the hard rocker kid shivering out by the backstage door in the heavy downpour-well, that was me, sometime in the late eighties, traipsing through the filthy winter slush of a Detroit Rock City heavy metal parking lot in my black leather jacket with the skulls painted on the sleeves, biker boots, Circus Of Power rising sun t-shirt, probably, underage with a flask fulla cheap vodka cos we used to think you couldn't smell it*, hoping some platform booted older rock scurve would sneak me in with 'em to the venue. The tour bus pulled up and it was a real "Almost Famous" moment I s'pose as a cluster of fat girls in stonewashed denim with glasses and bad hair appeared out of nowhere to welcome the band. Britny Fox came off the bus like all the third-string rock doods of that time, all regal and cocksure, smug, and solemn in their Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam style, poorly assembled velvet glam metal pirate duds. Bewigged and "ready to rawk". These are the kinda corporate wank bandwagon chasers that ruined rock n' roll for so long. More hardened, Philadelphia factory town lookin' redneck/Jocks begrudgingly trussed up to look like Wendy & Lisa and sound like every other mediocre AeroKiss copycat hack bar band on the planet. Hilariously, no poignantCameron Crowe/Jukebox Hero celluloid scenario panned out for me, cos I figure they could sense I wasn't really there to see them anyway. When one of the blonde guitarists strutted by in his wig and doofy trenchcoat and I asked if he'd help me evade the strict +21 door policy, he mumbled, "Sorry Kid" and the single leather glove wearing roadie slammed the heavy backstage door behind the 'Fox and their mostly unattractive, small entourage of groupies with a heavy clang. It was snowing, so I pushed myself back around to the front of the building where a line was forming, downing my rotgut vodka on the way and promptly hooked up with some other concert trash loitering 'round their vans and Trans Ams and accompanied them to their nearby crashpad/rehearsal space to watch their Janes Addiction rip-off band thunder through a song called "1-900 Jesus" (the band was Murder City--and I was mad cos MY band was gonna be called MURDER STARS after my hero Stiv Bator's Lords Of The New Church song, "Murder Style", yeah- I was mad about the Murder Junkies and Murder Dolls, too. I've finally let go...) and then, not being much of a pot smoker and resenting all the elaborate vocal processing foot pedals the Murder City singer had to help him sound more like Perry Farrell, I drifted back towards the show, all good 'n' sauced up on Peppermint Schnapps, and was approached by two drunk and "foxy" older women, both hot blondes, who were immediately, taking me by the hand, and lavishing me with praise and kisses, referring to me as their, "purple velvet boy" cos, uh, my trousers this goth chick had so kindly made me, and these broads were luckily shit-hot Detroit scenester/photographer/makeup artist types who did all the ads forNoir Leather and knew the door people and got me effortlessly waved in, probably even stamped "high" cos they fed me foo foo girl drinks all night and it seems I fell in loves. I think I remember some ducky young punk locals warming up the crowd-it wasn't the Happy Death Men, but somebody like 'em, probably, performing a shithot revved up version of the Stones' "When The Whip Comes Down". All my memories from that era are a blur of rotgut vodka, peppermint schnapps and overpriced foo foo girl drinks, but I'll never forget being chumped by Dizzy Dean and the boys. HAR! And come to think of it, I guess IDID end up getting my Penny Lane moment. (Hello Linda and Monique xo)


Britny Fox were one of the many, many poor man'sAerosmith's of the corporate hairband juggernaut, not REALLY glam rock in the purestDolls/T.Rex/Bowie sense-though I seem to remember all the cash-in metal merchants picked an old classic to bludgeon (Sweet F.A. ruined "Taxi Driver" by Hanoi Rocks, Krokus used to do "School's Out"**, Great White and Quiet Riot andJoan Jett, come to think of it, based their whole careers on 70's glitter rock covers! etc. etc.) and I seem to remember Britny Fox doing "Gud'bye To Jane" at some point, Britny were far from being another poorman's Stones or Aerosmith, really, they were the poorman's Ratt or Cinderella, almost. I think their bewigged guitarist Michael Kelly Smithwas actually an original member of Tom Keiffer'sCinderella at some point.

In fairness to the 'Fox, I did dig their tune "Girlschool" -hell that mighta been back when another one of my fave rockers Mike Monroe was dating the Girlschool broad. Or was that Lemmy?*** Anyhoo, Dizzy Dean Davidson had that eighties metal screech and could howl along with the rest of the alleycats, probably somewhere in between Keifer and that weirdo with the braids from Roxx Gang. There were alot of bands goin' for that Kiss without the makeup look-you know-kinda hairy chested, gold necklace, black plastic pants from Lip Service and a bad velvet trenchcoat from a smalltown's local theatre tropes production of "The King & I" or "Man Of La Mancha" or something. The brunette vocalists, according to noted metal guru, Tracii Guns' logic, just never had the bitch magnet appeal of all them Jani Lane's andTed Poleys and that's why Poison outsold L.A. Guns, and the vocalists who looked more like Paul Stanley than David Lee Roth got lost in the shuffle when glam rock was being exploited and mutated into that sickly strain of lifeguard metal powerballadry I call "Secretary Rock". By the time clowns like Kip Winger---lemee say that again for emphasis, "KIP." Kip Winger, Joey Tempest, Mike Tramp, Mark Slaughter,  and their ilk started squeezing into the day glo tights, the chairs were on the table and I was out the door baby . Everybody had their party anthem and then their three power ballads. Fortunately, aside from "Long Way To Love" or whatever, I can't seem to recall many of  Britny Fox's weary road ballads, but I figure they musta had three or four songs like "Long Road",  "Long Way Through the Halfway Valley Of A Long Cold Winter On The Way Back Home", etc., right? Just horrible-all those hairbands destroying glam. In order for these sinister U.S. gone global imperialist, bloodthirsty corporations to keep propping up all their capitalist myths of "fair and balanced coverage", "freewill", and "equality", they always need us dumbed down five dollar an hour, eternally in-debted wage slaves and slave class carpetbaggers ("now hiring smiling faces"=no benefits, piss test, background check, personality profile questionaire, credit check, five fifty an hour with no affordable housing left almost anywhere...) to have our illusions of "choice", cos that's what keeps us coming back for more: Coke or Pepsi, Coke or heroin,Britny or Cinderella, Britney or Christina, the Strokes or the Hives, right? Sadly, it's usually all the same hollow shit at the end of the dreary workday.
The Fox' main legacy might be that their faceless bar band glam-metal probably only really succeeded at kinda legitimizing Cinderella, though Dizzy Dean did probably help sell some satin frocks and flowered leggings from one of them overpriced boutiques they used to have on Melrose. Heck, the Fox even made Danish second stringers like D.A.D. (and their spaghetti western hard pop twang and spark shooting construction helmet) seem incredibly fresh and compelling and exciting and original in comparison. I mean,KISS were ALREADY unmasked by then, y'know? What d'ya need Tuff for if you've already been POISON-ed? Whadya need Britny Fox for if you already own "Night Songs" and the positively essential, "Gypsy Road"? I'm sorry to be so hard on the Fox Network, but us aging Flash Metal Causalities kinda got to call 'em as we see 'em. Last I heard Dizzy Dean had formed another band called BLACKEYED SUSAN, then another one called "LOVE SAVES THE DAY". (Apparently the lyrical genius behind "Girlschool" happened by the famous 2nd Ave. thrift store in NYC at some point, and said to himself, "That's IT!" which begs the obvious question about how many trustfund junkie chic artschool Pussy Galore wanna beez considered naming their noise bands Gem Spa, thinking their being really imaginative and witty like those clever, Murder Stars" Har.Har.)


Ain't it strange how every shit hairband can still make some kinda remote living off having once had a video air on Headbangers Ball? Even when little alleycats like me were violently sick of all that fake corporate glam spew being pimped by the end of the eighties and even somewhat into the nineties, for many of us, the nasally, brooding, Hootie Howl of grunge was no solution, either! I basically spent the latter haffa the eighties seeking out my own alternatives to Flotsam & jetsam and Autographand Two Bit Thief. I'd traded in Jetboy for theJetboys and instead of referring to mags like Metal Forces, Metal Hammer, Faces Rocks, Hit Parader and Rip for my flash rock kicks, I started to follow and get really excited by the trashy
FLASH PUNK REBIRTH that was being documented in more underground zines like Flipside, Ready To Snap, Full Blast, and Sonic Iguana. Real rocknroll never dies, it just goes back underground.
After the glut of Britny Foxes we had to contend with back when Poison, Bon Jovi and co. were ruining rock n' roll for all of us, it was thrilling the see the static-y technicolour sunset alit with all kindsa REAL ROCKNROLL roman candles: Smack, Soul Asylum, Material Issue, Clawhammer, the Replacements, Action Swingers, The Goops, The Campus Tramps, Flies On Fire, Pillbox, Lazy Cowgirls, Redd Kross, Das Damen, Fluffy, Imperial Drag, Celebrity Skin, Hello Disaster, Divinyls, Cheetah Chrome and the Ghetto Dogs, Uncle Sam, Leaving Trains, New Model Army, These Immortal Souls, Jacobites, Bounty Hunters, Snatches Of Pink, Suicide Twins, Nick Cave,Godfathers, Earth 18****, old Flaming Lips, Fuzztones, Jesus Christ Superfly,Manic St. Preachers, Junk Monkeys, Flaming Stars, the Hangmen, Tommykockers, Slow Motorcade, the Joneses, the Viletones, the Comatones, Pontiac Brothers, Love Spit Love, the Ultras, etc. etc etc Nowadays I'm down to a shoebox full of cheap cassettes: the Leps, Roth, Peter Murphy, no kidding, that's about it. I like this Glam band called Silver, sick o' Jet. Dysfunctional, depressed, one of the millions left behind. It sucks. So take heart B.F. I'm sure you still got loadsa fans who love you in Japan. Why can't I find a used copy of that Slum Lords album or the Soho Roses?

Further: Britny Fox official site
-Pepsi "Fashizzy" Sheen Will Wk. For Dental




*True. And SO fuckin' wrong. Just ask my first half dozen employers.
**AND Ballroom Blitz!
***It was Lemmy. Which is the official default answer for all flash metal trivia questions for now on.
****Earth 18, you Trex ripping-off motherfuckers, please get in touch. Your Flash Metal Suicide is waiting.
-Sleaze

Monday, December 05, 2011

Some Girls

Heaven's Pregnant Teens
Epitaph 

Here’s what I really liked about this one: I was actually scared to listen to it. When I pushed ‘play’, I had that face on, you know, the one-eyed Popeye stance you take when you can clearly see the baseball that’s gonna smash you in the nose, but it’s coming so fast, you can’t get out of it’s way. The steely resolve of the clearly doomed. After all, Some Girls is comprised of the crème de la crud of the San Diego destructo-punk scene. It’s positively lousy with members of noise art terrorists The Locust and riot-baiting hardcore meathammers American Nightmare, to say nothing of The Plot To Blow Up the Eiffel Tower and Give Up the Ghost, so highly combustible fuck n’ roll is bound to happen. And it does, sorta. As their drummer, Sal Gallegos, so succinctly put it, this ain’t no “cupcake shit”, but it’s really just noisy hardcore riddled with a few diseased sounding artwhore guitars. The first real groove doesn’t kick in until track twelve, “Religion II”, a growly graveyard stomp that brings to mind the lunatic lumberjack death punk of Killdozer; but before and after, it’s just a relentless battering of angry metal-punk with pained screaming tossed over the top. And that’s ok, it’s just not all that SCARY, ya know?

Then again, I’ve never been to one of their shows. I’m sure the pit is fucking terrifying.



- Sleaze

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Pagans


The Blue Album
Smog Veil

A fitting companion piece to Pagans’ vox-ist Mike Hudson’s auto-bio “Diary of a Punk”, The Blue Album finds the Cleveland OG punks on their wheezy second wind, plying their shabby trade at a college gig in Madison, Wisconsin in 1988. The sound is buzzy and the perf is sloppy, but since there’s scant Pagans material to sift through, it’s still worth the 17 or so minutes it takes to listen to it. Contains the classicks “She’s a Cadaver” and “Us and All Our Friends Are So Messed Up.” Also contains a pretty funny band photo, wherein the band looks like hippy versions of their skinny, sneering, 1976 selves.


 - Sleaze

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Throw Rag

2nd Place
Acetate Records


Throw Rag are veteran LA scenesters, veritable gods-among-hipsters who have boiled under the surface forever with their combination of snake-handling death-country, balls-out rawk and Cramps-ian pukeabilly. This tasty slice of psycho-Americana is chock-full of washboard-scraping shanties like the charming Bag of Glue and Johnny Big Nuts that will have you dancing around the trailer with a bottle of lighter fluid in one hand and a match in the other. They’re like the Supersuckers with emotional problems.  Bonus live cuts too, just to show off why they pack ‘em in every night.





- Sleaze

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blowback

Morningwood
Record Heaven


Buzzing Swedish stoner-rock, dipping freely into the Sabbath well to accent their psych-tinged mini-epics of melody and fuzz with moments of gone-blind heavy-osity. Unlike a lot of pot-pounding knuckleheads these days, Blowback is pretense-free, uncomplicated, a zillion miles away from math-rock. They simply turn that shit up and groove. Dig the deep, loping Living or Yesterday is Gone for prime-examples of their free-flowing craft. It’s music for afternoon couch-naps. I take a lot of those, so I’m into it, man.




- Sleaze

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Erotics

Rubbish
Trash Pit Records 


Mike Trash has a new band of scoundrels backing him and a fistful of battering new hell-rockers like Terrorize You and Get Away From Me Motherfucker that stomp all over the  semi-power balladry of  their previous 30 Seconds Over You LP and reveal Trash’s inner-GG Allin. While most bands slide into some form of respectability over the years, our man Trash has gone exactly the opposite  way – the Erotics haven’t sounded this evil for nearly a decade. Classic, mean-spirited sleaze-rock.

 

- Sleaze

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dead Hookers

The Burial/The Rebirth

This looks exactly like a stoner rock record, down to the spaceman font and the psychedelic skull inside, but it ain’t. Which is not to say that weed wasn’t involved. Probably it was. But it sounds like lots of bad chemicals were involved, as well as a bunch of wounded childhoods and maybe a lengthy psyche-ward stay or two. The Dead Hookers are from Wisconsin, the serial killer capital of the world, and they play frightening vomit rock that sounds like Mudhoney trapped in Hostel 3. Muted guitars, screaming, dirty fuzz, the works. It’s nasty garage-scuzz rock scraped right off the sewer floor. The title suggests a concept album. I’m guessing the concept has something to do with smashing you in the nose and leaving you naked and freezing. Crazy, man.




-Sleaze

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Blacklist

Total Blacklist
Drug Bust Records

Stunning, call-the-cops riot rock that really does sound like it's trying to kill you. It’s everything you expect from Australians, only even scarier. Like the Road Warrior and Razorback in one raging madball of psychotic rock n’ roll. Personally, I know that I cannot possibly live up to a song like Death Cheetah of Death or Ice Titan. I’m just not that bad-ass. You, however, may be up to the challenge. If so, pick up Total Blacklist immediately and then hurl yourself off the nearest roof. If you manage to get up afterwards, you deserve to be a Blacklist fan. Fucking incredible.

Blacklist Website

- Sleaze



Monday, November 21, 2011

Tommy Rivers and the Raw Ramps

Self-titled
December Records

I bet Tommy Rivers wears really cool shoes, like those Italian jobs with the buckles, and I'm almost positive that he smokes his cigarettes with style. Tommy's one of those rare cats that exudes an easy rock star charm, and I'm sure that every Saturday night in Memphis you can find him in some sleazy rock dive, sauntering around with his dressed up/messed up mop of hair, flowered shirt and jangly guitar, a big friendly smile on his face, and plenty of stories to tell. If ever there was a cult hero waiting to happen, it's old man Rivers here. Tommy's got the sympathy and the taste to name his band after T Rex's best song, and luckily, they live up to the boast. They play soulful ballads and semi-acoustic sleaze rock and bliss pop and melancholy glitter folk. There's talk of lost loves and found friends and plenty of Sunday morning-coming-down odes to the perils of rock and roll decadence, and they even manage to slip in a heartfelt Christmas song, and it's all drawled out in Rivers' gentlemen rogue croon. He sounds like a Southern Nikki Sudden soaking in a rainy afternoon, or a moonshine swilling Tyla, or maybe a dixie Westerberg lost in a sea of scarves, with an ace band of gypsies, tramps and thieves backing him up, like the Black Crowes without all that hippy jam band jive. This record isn't even new, by the way, it's dated here as being from 1998, but you and I both missed it first time around, so it's making the rounds again, getting a second chance to shine. And it does, baby, like a diamond.

- Sleaze

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Butch Walker and The Black Widows

The Spade
www.butchwalker.com
The Butch Walker most of us got acquainted with was the power pop, anthemic rocker from Marvelous 3 who knew his way around massive hooks and the formula for hit songs. Since trying and unfortunately failing commercially with songs for himself that ended up being massive chart toppers for Pink, Avril Lavinge and Fall Out Boy, he’s stripped it back quite a bit and sounds more like Jesse Malin or Ryan Adams then the Warrant/Def Leppardish style he had for the M3’s “Ready, Sex, Go” album or even his first solo effort “Left of Self Centered.” “The Spade” is probably about as close as we’re gonna get to vintage Butch, specifically the song “Summer of ’89” which single-handedly makes the record worth buying. It’s not his best, but it’s far better than the melancholy approach to the last few. 6/10
-- B.J. Lisko

Michael Monroe

Sensory Overdrive
On his latest solo effort, Hanoi Rocks frontman Michael Monroe is back with all the swagger of his heyday. “Sensory Overdrive” is a hard-driving rock ‘n’ roll record full of big choruses and includes some of his best material in years. “78,” “Superpowered Superfly,” “Later Won’t Wait” and “Modern Day Miracle” are full of grit, glitz and chalked full of melody. Other moments – “Bombs Away,” “Got Blood” – are punk and fresh. Lemmy makes a cameo on “Debauchery As A Fine Art” and the track chugs along like a fist-pumping Motorhead anthem. The slower numbers including “All You Need” aren’t quite ballads but are heartfelt and as catchy as Hanoi’s best numbers. Whether his old band gets back together remains to be seen, but if they don’t, Monroe solo more than fills the void. -- 7/10
– B.J. Lisko

The Hookers

Horror Rises From The Tombs
Green Mist Records


Just when we thought all hope, life and light has vanished, The Hookers rise again after reuniting from an eight year split to bring even more piercing, pitch-black darkness into the B&W leather color scheme across the crusty punk/metal wastelands. Horror Rises From The Tombs is compiled of 12 ground and grave breaking new releases and 3 live bonus tracks. Kentucky born and bred, deathly live and freakishly undead, these decomposed, metalhead outcasts have really outdone themselves with this mighty sheath and heathernly, swift sword comeback stabbing down the throats of innocent bystanders who have yet to get with their 17 year program. The R'NR Outlaw took a walk through long periods of darkness with other side projects, such as, Blade of the Ripper and bounced back full of blood and scraped knuckles to form the underground, cult classick, Brothers of Conquests, only to find his true origins once again with the heavy metal, thunderous monster he brought to existence in 1994. 
 
Long term side effects resulting from listening to Horror Rises From The Tombs include; drum punctured, ringing ears enough to drive a steer of diseased, cattle mad; harshness in throat from screaming to the top of your lungs to "Crypt Of The Living Dead"; shortness in breathing from getting sucker punched from "The Clock Strikes 12"; blurrred vision from drinking to "The Lying Witch"; goosebumps from standing, "At the Grave Of Stoney Tombs"; Dizziness from thrashing your sweaty hair in your face upon hour on in repeating, "Black Past:". Grinding teeth and windblown hair from blasting, "Two Wheels"; Unnatural high from clinching this entire album in your hands to hold and have with you until the end of time. 
 
The more and more you steer and drive this under your record player's needle, the more and more you realize its not recommended for the weak at heart, stomach and reality period. Eat Hookers! Breath Hookers! Shit & puke Hookers 'Until the Day you Die'
 
~Smutstrutter

The Thriller Memorandum

Various Artists
Cherry Red Records

This brilliant compilation of spy jazz and crime surf and secret agent fuzz and dangerous curves had me checking the dashboard of the Mazda for the hidden button that launches the stealth rockets out of the rear bumper. What we have here is the swingingest sounds from obscure spy thrillers and TV shows and exotica records from 1962-1972 all cleverly packaged in one easily concealed, pin-striped, silencer-fitted hip flask of retro-cool. It would be quite the impossible mission to mention every highlight on this absolutely necessary collection, but some of the many choice cuts include the flute and vibes driven slow burner "Yes and No" by Des Champ, the midnight creeper "Ghost Squad" by the Tony Hatch Orchestra, which consists of one lonely whistler and a skeletal jazz band, the Spaghetti western meets surf city guitar and bongo frenzy of "A Night With Nuki" by the Brian Marshall Orchestra, and the funeral band goes Bossa Nova swing of the "Penthouse" theme by Johnny Hawksworth. There's also some easily recognizable tracks on deck, like "The Saint" theme by Edwin Astley, "Live and Let Die" by David Lloyd and his London Orchestra, and "Mission Impossible" by the Mike Hurst Orchestra. Man, I feel cooler just typing all those cats' names out. Listen, if you're not down with go-go dancing dragon lady Kissy Suzuki, you better pick up the Thriller Memorandum, but quick. The dossier included will explain everything, just make sure you destroy the evidence before the Reds or the Pinkos or somebody gets their filthy mitts on it. Martinis and buxom Siberian double agents optional, but encouraged.

- Agent Sleaze

Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane Save The World
www.wolfsbanehms.com

I’m not really sure where to begin here. It’s been such a long time since I’ve heard a true album. Not a few good songs here and there with the obligatory filler, but an honest to goodness rock ‘n’ roll album start to finish. A record that not only gets you off your ass and swings and moves and energizes with the god damned passion that made you love music in the first place, but also completely reasserts your faith in the rock 'n' fuckin' roll that got you completely addicted to begin with.
Wolfsbane, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, titled their new album “Wolfsbane Save The World.” I’m here to tell you it ain’t no joke. From the opening guitar of “Blue Sky,” all the way to the haunting and huge “Child of the Sun,” to album closer and a single they released earlier in the year “Did It For The Money,” this album was almost two decades in the making and somehow Wolfsbane has made it worth the wait.
Singer Blaze Bayley’s true passion may be heavy metal, but on here is positively charming as he croons and sings with swagger belting out very melodic hard rock ‘n’ roll with complete ease. Wolfsbane have always had that tinge of Roth-era Van Halen and a trace of Black Crowes, but Van Halen and the Black Crowes never wrote a record this good. How bold of a statement is that for you? And while “Teacher” may strike even more similarities to DLR, Wolfsbane takes the rock further, the melody further, the backing vocals further and the songwriting further, too. “Starlight” and “Illusion of Love” are positively anthemic. So much so the latter sounds like a punked-up version of "Bat Out Of Hell." The hooks on both will give you goose bumps, the hair on the back of your neck standing up just long enough before they slam you back to the womb again with slamming riff-raff, stories of being born in the “Smoke and Red Light,” and that “Everybody’s Looking For Something Baby.” Every song sounds like it could be a set closer, building and building with immense anticipation before completely crashing over the top and ending in spectacular fashion and fanfare. Wolfsbane has just written the record of not only the year, but also of their career and quite possibly everyone else’s too. Motherfuckin’ 10/10
– B.J. Lisko

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hermano

Only a Suggestion

There are more than a couple moments on "Only a Suggestion" where I'm convinced that this is the greatest fucking rock record I've ever heard, and the only thing holding me back from heading over to the nearest tattoo parlor with a xerox of their hog nose logo right now to have my devotion inked into flesh is that Hermano- that's "Brother" to you, gringo- isn't actually a real band. I mean, they're not cartoons or anything, they're just more of a side project than a do or die army of rock. Caught in some kind of unholy contract quagmire with Rick Rubin and his American Records saboteurs, John Garcia had been forced to put his post-Kyuss Uber Rock band Unida on hold- but the rock must roll on, so Garcia slipped in through the backdoor a couple of years back with some heavy friends- including Steve Earle (Afghan Whigs), Dave Angstrom (Supafuzz), and Mike Callahan (Disengage)- and after trading rough demos on the road for a few months, got it all together for this mammoth riff fest, a one-off Super Rock jam session with no other aspirations than to kick out the jams, brothers and sisters. So there's a good chance that this is not only the first, but also the last Hermano album, since everyone's back with their primary gigs*. But hey, we could all get hit by a truck tomorrow, so who cares what happens next, because what's happening right now is that a bunch of like-minded die hard rockers with talent to spare got together with a big sack of million dollar riffs and said, with all religious seriousness, "What would Ian Astbury do?" If he wasn't so worried about his retirement fund, sweating out the piss poor sales of "Beyond Good and Evil", and quitting the business in disgust for the hundredth time, he'd be rocking the fuck out like he's supposed to, full tilt and with wild abandon, just like Hermano does here. That's right, it sounds like the Cult. Sounds like Unida and Supafuzz too, and for the duration of its 8 supersonic odes to bad drinking and good times, it's absolutely perfect. I've heard rumblings of discontent from the stoner rock faithful because Hermano ain't as sundazed and liquid as their heroes Kyuss and Queens of the Stoneage, but you know, those people are on drugs. All I can tell you is that "OAS" is blasting as we speak, and I just buzzed the doors of a state trooper doing 85 on the turnpike, and I'm laughing, baby, because I'm so drunk on full throttle heavy ass rock and roll that I don't even care what happens, and isn't that what we're all here for in the first place? Sure, this Hermano trip is Only a Suggestion, but so's keeping an equalizer in the glove compartment. I'm assuming you know what to do next.

-Sleazegrinder




*It was not. They made a couple more. -Sleaze

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Brand New Sin

Self-titled
Now or Never Records 


Kris Weichmann, one of Brand New Sin's 3 (!) guitarists, reckons that this album is like "The first drink and alcoholic takes after walking out of rehab; it feels fucking great." Take it from a guy that's had that drink a dozen times, he's telling the truth. BNS are from upstate New York, although they've got enough Dixie in them to trade licks with COC, which it sure sounds like they're doing here. The sound is pure Southern riff and roll, the same white trash biker metal choogle that Isabelle's Gift and Gonzalez have mastered, only BNS have upped the ante with the triple threat axe grinding and the kind of over-amped production usually reserved for heavyweights like Ozzy or Priest. The sweaty, boozy thunderboogie comes thick and fast, wrapped around meaty hooks that boil around in your brain like bad ideas that won't go away, and the rousing choruses are prime fist pumping, Saturday night hell raiser material. There's plenty of slide guitar and a few moments of outlaw country-tinged power ballads on deck, as well. Christ, they even look like trouble. I don't even have to mention Lynyrd Skynyrd, Thin Lizzy, or Halfway to Gone, do I? You really can't find a more authentic slice of heavy ass rock and roll than Brand New Sin, brothers and sisters. Highly recommended.



- Sleazegrinder 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Devildrunk Leer: Me n' Tyla


Here's a wee drunken reminiscin' ramble...

...that I posted to the Dogs yahoo groups list back in June this year after someone wrote in about a gig they saw somewhere in London (Highgate, I think it was) when Tyla had a wee violin player (as on Spike n' Tyla's Hot Knives track 'Lost in a Crowd Of One') that I added to, pulled apart, and sort of better-ised, a bit. What results is a few salvos of wine-scented scattershot salutations to a few of Tyla's solo gigs...


....I don't remember that particular gig, and before you start thinking "What's this stoopid twat writ in for then?", I saw Capt T in Wolves (The Varsity) with the violin player, have some great pics, even tho on a shitty £30 camera, twas I believe November '96, so yeah Libertine era gig...T, as is/was his wont, coming on dressed to the nines, ending up shedding his marvelous purple (or was that last Dogs tour '94? - shit don't get me started on that bout of heartbreak, maybe it was black then, yada yada) long kinda frock/western duster coat probs after the first song....oooooo, let's scratch those dusty brain cells...yup in tradition handed down by his own hand, twas 'Last Bandit'.... and then waistcoat, and shirt soon after, (well it's hot up there and a man's gotta flash his tatts)....seriously stoned (or newly recruited and just concentrating very hard!) bassist with him, who even managed to break 2 bass strings - I had a bassist did that once but this fucker was a pro so all due respect...at this gig T was seemingly and unsurprisingly full of speed (kept headbutting mic stand - try it - it fucking hurts!) and at end of set jumped, literally, on that gorgeous fucking Gretsch White Falcon. Some people cheered...as with a lot of you's here, we know not just how beautiful they are but how much they fucking cost. I will admit I fucking walked off at that (only to the bar, but I was seriously disgruntled....fuck yerself up, but leave the bloody guitar alone...hey, hey, all in all it's his, and he still seems to have it, 'less we've all helped him buy another!...and back then they were a bit cheaper than now...yawn sorry to be ananorak....late night n red wine n all)....can't remember set lists and so on and really who cares, of course he played 'How Come It Never Rains' and 'I Don't Want You To Go' at the end, interspersed with other such classics and what was then newer stuff....'Ballad of a Broken Heart' and so on. I think it was at this gig that I managed to actually miss the opening barrage by choosing precisely the wrong time to take a piss but there we go.


Also saw T at a hotel in Wolves that may have been called The Underground (the venue, for it was a basement bar, not the actual hotel) that was a small acoustic gig in '95 perhaps....beautifully set up, candlelit tables etc etc...T's relatives (I dunno and don't really care but mum, sister, auntie?) seemed to be there, doing the merch, T played a fucking blinder after we'd not seen him/heard owt for a while - since the abortion of The Dogs last tour in summer '94 (only a year but time seemed to last longer then) where he played an acoustic set and I think The Dogs only managed about 2 songs - y'know the way he raises those shoulders and wheezes out some dynamite jet poetic raptures, exhaling the embers of memories and dreams shrouded in smoke and stale red wine, cocking his head to one side to get the note out, the lights conjoining with the shadows cast by his hat and dancing around the dimly lit room to give an almost devildrunk leer to his features. Was truly great, relaxed and intimate, apart from me and my aforementioned mate, Max, almost got in a fight with a bunch of kids sat behind us who kept saying loudly to each other "Do you think he'll be sick during this one?", "I saw the Dogs once and Tyla collapsed, it was soooo funny". Things like that. Kinda the usual, like arseholes on message boards complaining that Tyla was better when he was as near to death as the length of a drape coat as he is sober(ish), forgetting that this is someone's life they're living, not a cartoon crutch for your vicarious pleasures.  Dicks, T had a case of Chateaux Neuf or however you spell it and spilt half a bottle, either through missing the table when putting it down or just knocking it with his arm when playing his guitar, then they burst into laughter...we were like 'Fuck you.' Oh how funny. Having said that tho, it was pretty damn cool that he can just call to his tech to go get him another bottle. After the gig, to his great commendation, T walks over and sorts things out, like 'There's gonna be no trouble don't care what it's about'...we just thought and I still fugging do for such "die hard" Dogs fans to laugh at him spilling drinks etc etc is sick. The age old Thunders thing on the In Cold Blood book "Yeah yeah I'm gonna die tonight...." and they all cheer, blah blah. I also unwittingly managed to nick Tyla's pint, being all poor n stuff I mineswept a lonesome pint from the bar then the big guy wanders over, proffers a puzzled look and enquires as to who indeed could jolly well have had the bare faced cheek and tenacity to nick his pint. I owned up, but he let me keep it and bought another....musta been a good gig....I also asked him to sign something for me which after a quick scraffle thru my pockets turned up a bank statement which he turned over, looked at, grinned, and said something like 'Shit, you haven't got much money have you?', in the odd, old man's almost Burroughs-esque nails scraping a blackboard gait he sometimes adopted. He also asked where I'd come along from, and extended his thanks politely when I said I'd traipsed along from Manchester. Then he didst wander off somewhere and I did too, probably thanking fuck that he didn't kick off for keifing his pint!
At this gig tho, the man himself wandered over to a few tables after it all had died down, things were being tidied away and people were trailing back onto the streets of Wolverhampton, us included - the last remnants as ever, and muttered in his Sarf Lahnden / Deep South America by way of the English Midlands Texas Drawl "We off to get pissed then?". "Errm okay" replied we. Who's gonna say to the guy, 'No, thanks for asking anyway, actually got an early start in the morning, so I'd rather not go for a beer with your friendly local Dog idol'. Went up to the hotel bar, our T put on his best politest 'I'm really a poet' voice "Would you mind staying open for me and my friends, I've just played a gig downstairs...." and dumps a fucking huge roll on the bar. "What we having then?" "Tetley" says I, "What are you from facking Yorkshire or somethin?" says our hero, "Yeah" says I. Erm, listeners, that was about the sum of our conversation! I fell off me stool at one point, oh me gooawd, don't do that in front of your idols, okay it was (o' course) "Darn't warry mate I always do that too!". The only other piece of chit chat I recall was him regaling us with the very long telephone number type figure which was (is?!) what he owed China Records...something from the half remembered haze suggests £347,856. When there were few fags left amongst the small group, he gave us his keys and bade us go upstairs to his room and get a box, a box of 200 fags, that is, not a pack of 20 like in the UK. Brilliant! Either he was too pissed to care which I rather doubt or he was in a jubilant mood (ecstatic at been back in Wolverhampton perhaps?), or just lazy, but I remember being impressed at the time that he'd trust people to venture into his room with all his shit in....well, Jack (that put paid to the scandalous rumours of the time that he'd been professing to have quit the spirits....tho he has now so he got there in the end. Maybe he got sick of drinking with idiots from Yorkshire who asked him if he'd fancy selling his hat and quit soon after) and a very nice hat, which I recall in stupid drunken fan mode asking if he'd flog it. Not a good idea! Naw, he was polite about it, while probably thinking 'What a twat!' ha ha.


Are we bored yet? I'm having a right old whale of a time, itching ma brain...saw T at York Fibbers, I think sometime like 2000, also great, less boozed, very self deprecating, almost like a fucking stand up show, obviously in great spirits as it were, again acoustic. Tyla meets Tony Hancock bumping into Frankie Howerd at the bar "Ooooooo noooooo, no Jack for me". A kid - no, not me, literally, honestly not me this time - kept shouting for "Wait Till I'm Dead" (obviously methinks a great song. I never saw THATmany Dogs gigs being 12 when Dynamite came out and I first heard the devilish lil barstads, but I don't think they played it live that much, correct me if I'm wrong - and if you've been arsed to read this far!

Awwwww, bless you if you have) and at the end T just laughed and goes "Fack, haven't you gone home yet, mate? I aren't facking playing it!". Some others kept on asking for 'You Can't Put Your Arms Round A Memory' which he didn't even bother to comment on. Silence being louder than words and all that. Should really be able to remember more about this particular gig seen as Max drove down so in a spirit of brotherly stand-togetherness I joined him in only drinking the legal 2 pints (I was probably also woefully skint but hey,) but I can't. Mr T came out for a pint afterwards but this time we declined to bother him, jesus, he probably never knew how lucky he was! I'm sure we heard him call for a lock-in too...just our luck as we weren't fucking drinking. Probably karma from the events in Wolves.


I've see similar things, another gig in Wolves, again Nov 2nd (almost like an annual Tyla day in Wolverhampton back then it seems. I think they should do this. Have a local bank holiday, but then Noddy Holder and the otherSlade boys might get jealous and want their own, too. Just cos they had some hit singles tsk, cheeky blighters, then that twat who did Babylon Zoo would come slithering into view, desperate for another chance at a come-back), perhaps '97 this time, acoustic and T paused during 'Satellite Kid' after the first line - I always recall this to people, mainly people who've never ever heard of The Dogs let alone Tyla and therefore think I'm not all there, maybe I'm not, but Rock'n Roll sounds like heaven to me, so I  know which universe I prefer - so yeah, he pauses and I pushed to the front and shouted A G or D, whichever it was, and he just stuck his thumb up, and went something like "Shit, cheers" and carried on! Kinda like 'Kirsten Jet' - gimme an Eeeeeeee...Went to this show, again with Max, but also with a chum from school, Mr Alistair Foy, who wasn't, by any means, a Dog lover. I think he liked things like Chris Rea or something, and he's a lawman now, so it seems likely. Anyway, the sarky so and so amused himself by making observations that Tyla sounds like Rod Stewartand voicing loudly the fact that the songs all use the same chords...in a hall full of partisans I kinda tip my hat, or hair, to that lack of concern and care.
Endured Ginger's godawful  cacophonical Clam Abuse cataclysm too, to watch Tyla support at Manchester's Band on the Wall in summer '99, the last time I saw him I think so maybe the York gig was actually '97 or '98....anyway I thought he gave a very disinterested, half-hearted performance...for Tyla to play and wear very boring togs - plain black leather box coat I recall - seems to suggest this to this cat....almost like well it's a short half hour support, it's Ginger's show (if you could call it that) so I'll play a few things n fart about n fuck off with ma drink money...no banter (that I guess the luxury of headlining gives), just a perfunctory trawl through some Dogs classics and 'The Only Girl...' off his then pretty recent 'Nocturnal Nomad' album. I was miffed tho that he didn't play 'Johnny Silvers' despite me shouting myself hoarse for it, which I informed him of, to be rebuffed with a (true) 'I can't play everything'. True, but you could pop in a request. However, my mate Gaz disagrees and thinks the old chap was on top form that night, so maybe I'm wrong or he's just not as discerning as me....I'm sure we'll keep on discussing it over beer n bruises for times to come.

& in T's bestest Ian Hunter voice, or just plain old Honest Ian Hunter voice...
That's aaawwwllll. Bless you all!



-Stu Dynamite
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