Kick-Start the Angry Millennium!
by David Lee Beowulf
…six months late, but who’s counting?
Man, I keep trying to write about the US presidential election and I get side-tracked every single time.
This isn’t an exception, but it’s going to put an end to a major side-tracker…
Thusly, my thoughts on the election. 1. Gore lost, Bush won. Rules are rules and the Electoral College decides. Tough. Did Bush “steal” the election? No, but Gore might have, had the “questionable” Florida ballots been counted. Hold on now, those photos of folks trying to guess “voter intent” got to me and that’s no way to run an election in the USA. (Yes, I am aware of a “hanging chad” law in Texas – I don’t like it either.) I’m sorry, but anyone who’s ever run for any office, be it captain of the kickball team at recess in the fourth grade to a college fraternity to anything, should agree with me that the votes are counted as they fall. If there’s a question about a vote, that ballot is discarded.
2. Bush lost, Gore won. Al Gore received at least 500,000 more votes than G. W. Bush in the popular election. Now, as every American citizen knows, the president is elected not by the popular vote but by the electoral vote. What’s been awesome about this election is the lesson in civics we all got… Is the EC fair? Absolutely. It’s a check against large population centers controlling the country. It may not be “efficient” but it gives every state equal importance. Consider this: should the New York City Metropolitan area, greater Los Angeles and the Washington, D.C. Metro area determine who runs the country? If you do, come visit New York City and see how the other half lives… Regular readers of Ink Nineteen know that I voted for Bush and they know why: guns and foreign policy. Mostly guns. I’m the NRA and I vote. Also, the foreign policy of the last eight years was absolutely insane, to the point of weirdness. There’s a third reason, too, and that’s that I cannot cast a vote supportive of Tipper Gore.
3. Republicans have no right to gloat. No way, no how. Me, I’m not registered with a party and I think all politicians are “sleazy;” they have to be, it’s the nature of the job. Bush is wisely being as humble as he can despite the strange, but vocal, rants of the likes you’ll find in Salon. Come on, Bush lost the popular election.
4. I fully expected Gore to win by a margin of at least 60%, more like 65%. My readers will remember that I recognized that the economy was great under Bill Clinton, even though I think he’s a commie pinko hippie. Historically, presidential administrations are not voted out of power in good times. Did Nader have an influence on the election? Yes and no. As far as I’m concerned, an honest person could either vote for Bush or Nader, not for Gore. If you were anti-death penalty and anti-war on drugs, Nader was your candidate. Clinton was pro death penalty as is Gore and Clinton escalated the war on drugs in Colombia. Ye of short memory… Be that as it may, Gore ran a terrible campaign. Where was the technocrat? Where was the savior of the environment? Why didn’t he come out fighting and preaching hellfire and brimstone from his books? He could have and should have debated Ralph Nader and perhaps made it clear (?) that he was indeed the techno-envirocrat he thinks (?) he is. Instead, where was Al Gore? Oh, there he was, expecting to win with little fight. Well, Al, you should know better, you’ve been a politician most of your adult life and running for office means someone has to lose and winning means playing for keeps, which you did not do. Gore should’ve been the one who made the speeches at Madison Square Garden and not Nader. Gore should’ve embraced Bill Clinton instead of distancing him, too. You thought Reagan was teflon? Clinton is a walking, talking, breathing hardshell, monel-plated diving suit! Clinton’s the kind of guy who could fall into a barrel of turds only to come up with a winning lotto ticket in his mouth! Sure, Clinton’s pretty “stupid” when it comes to giving one’s enemies ammunition, but the fact that he triumphed instead of just survived is testimony enough that Gore needed him on his team. Had Gore listened to me (well, someone who thinks like me) there’d be a repeat of the December 1996 National Review, that was devoted to stories about what the old conservatives were going to do to drown their sorrows. But no, Gore went nuts. Oh, he still won the popular election – but not by much – and certainly not be enough of a margin above Bush to give him the walk he thought he’d get.
5. Hillary! Clinton? Stupid. I voted for John Clifton… But all one needs to do is read Camile Paglia’s Hillary! Essays and you’ll understand… UPDATE: The Senate goes to the Democrats. That’s a GOOD thing. The less efficient the legislature can be, the less damage they will do – maybe.
That’s enough politics, now for the roadblock. Check this out:
There’s no way I can review them all, or is there? Well, I think I’ve got to give the ones I liked at least a bit of a boost…
OK, so here’s the deal: short reviews with links where possible, how’s that? Good, I know you’d agree! Here we go!!!
Firebird. Heavy stoner side-project lead by Bill Steer of Carcass, assisted by Leo Smee and Ludwig Witt, on-loan from Cathedral and Spiritual Beggars, respectively. As one would expect, it is superb. On The Music Cartel.
Rock Bitch, Motor-Driven Bimbo. Dr. Heathen Scum of the Mentors first told me about this band a few years ago. According to him, they’re a bunch of English slags who play in the nude and worship the devil. He’s right. They also play some wicked metal with, surprisingly, a lot of interesting electronics. “Essex Girl” could be a hit here if the radio stations had any ‘nads. Also on Steamhammer records.
Doro Pesch, Calling the Wild… Mad German metal valkyrie is back… How long was she gone? In addition to about eleven of her own power metal (add a couple of ballads) tunes, she covers a couple of Motorhead songs and one from Billy Idol. On Koch records.
Fleshcrawl, As Blood Rains from the Sky… We Walk the Path of Endless Fire. Regal German death metal war chants of high merit. The titles alone are enough to raise an army: “Under the Banner of Death,” “The Day Man Lost,” “Swords of Darkness.” On Metal Blade Records.
Rotten Sound, Still Psycho. Brutal extreme deathmetal. From Finland it is and it is brutally fast, minimalist extreme wrath. Say that with a mouthful of crackers! On Necropolis Records.
Dead Meadow. 100 proof excellent stoner metal. On Tolotta Records.
Glenn Hughes, Return of Crystal Karma. Great solo piece from Journeyman metal vocalist. It rocks hard with some awesome guitar breaks and quite heavy music for what might be confused as a singer’s record.; On Steamhammer Records.
Nile, Black Seeds of Vengeance. Awesome, blazing death metal Egyptology, Assyriology, Babylonology and other near-east ass-kicking history lessons, with plenty of supernatural war-horror to boot. On Relapse Records.
Venom, Resurrection. Venom are back and black as ever. Totally over-the-top speedeath metal that walks a tightrope wire between over-the-top comedy and over-the top… Run for your lives! Fourteen (I think there’s a bonus somewhere, too) tracks with Venom-esque titles like “Black Flame of Satan,” “All there is Fear,” and “Leviathan.” Everyone’s a fan of Venom, right? On Steamhammer records.
Jag Panzer, Thane to the Throne. This is probably the best metal album of the year, if not for Alice Cooper’s Brutal Planet. It’s a full-blown power metal send off of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth and it cranks. It’s an awesome metal opera and if there’s any justice in the world, the ivory tower English lit and theater art phags out there will force this to go gold asap. [Links to macbeth]. If you know the play, even better if you’ve remembered choice lines (e.g., “…ripped from my mother’s womb…”) chills of lightening will run down your spine. On Century Media.
Mayhem, Grand Declaration of War. Not at all what I had expected. This is a band that, literally (in a round-about way), eats its young. Grand Declaration of War is a bizarre electronic hybrid-metal odyssey somewhere, maybe linking science and a future evil? On Necropolis Records.
Seven Foot Spleen, entertherapy. Exactly how a spleen that’s seven feet long should sound: gurgling, agonizing noise-metal. On Tee Pee/MIA Records.
Abscess, Tormented. You will be. Though my dad burst out in laughter when I read him the band’s tag line (“…deathmachines churning out a gut-wrenching bowel-full of sickening death metal…”), the cover looks like an intestinal still life. Love the song titles, like “Madhouse at the End of the World” and “Scratching at the Coffin.” Delightful. On Necropolis Records.
Krisium, Conquerors of Armageddon. Brutal death metal with lots and lots of raging guitars and overrunning drums. Intense. Great title! On Century Media.
On Maze of Torment, Death Strikes. Swedish violence, especially on songs like “Death Strikes,” “Sodomizing Death Spell,” “This is Death,” and “Aggressive Bloodhunt.” Is there a pattern here? On Necropolis Records.
Lizzy Borden, Deal with The Devil. Never really was much of a fan of Lizzy Borden. But then again, ya gotta get a good listen of everything to appreciate it… This is a pretty brutal album with a lot of power and glitz mixed in. Oh, and Satanism. On Metal Blade Records.
Shadow Keep, Corruption Within. Great, screaming, Maiden-esque power metal. Lots of songs about hitting people with swords and other Metal stuff. See if you can find the cover of “Queen of the Reich.” On Limb Music Products.
Iron Fire, Thunderstorm. Lots and lots of metal songs about hitting people with swords and wearing little else than boots, a loincloth, cape, and big Viking helmet. Naturally, it’s a winner! Very heavy on the Manowar esque lyrics. On Noise Records.
Nevermore, Dead Heart in a Dead World. Violent heavy metal that’s a mix of Pantera and strong, melodic hard metal guitars. The song titles appear to indicate that someone has a wondering mind and a sick sense of humor (e.g., their cover of “The Sounds of Silence” it’s a metal version and no ballad!>. On Century Media.
Type O Negative, The Least Worst of Type O Negative. How come I’m not giving the best band of the 1990s more space? I dunno, no biggee, it’s “just” a greatest hits album that leaves out some of what I thought were their greatest hits – along with these. A couple of new songs, too: “12 Black Rainbows,” “Stay Out of My Dreams” (creepy, dark song) and “It’s Never Enough.” Oh and another cover of “Black Sabbath.” A must-have, to be sure, but there’s a new full-length out there for sure. Of course, they’re on the mighty Roadrunner Records.
Umbra et Imago, Mea Culpa. Strange, rocking very “German” gothmusik from Germany. Lot of tastefully-posed nude babes within the liner. All songs appear to be gothic (e.g, “Goth Music” and “Teutonenlied”) in German. Makes sense. Great version of “Rock Me Amadeus,” too. On Oblivion Records.
Angel Dust, Enlighten the Darkness. Excellent, blazing power metal from an enduring band that deserves a lot of respect and a lot of listens. On Century Media.
Sloth, The Voice of God. Awesome English doom and gloom stoner metal. I imagine that these dudes, instead of playing “little league” cricket, spent their youths riding motortricycles, and trying to be as heavy as Sabbath! Man, “Lord of the Gallows” is bone-crushing. On The Music Cartel.
Various Artists, King Diamond Tribute. Plenty of evil to go around on this compilation of mostly-Scandinavian death metal bands paying homage to their favorite Danish deathlord, King Diamond. Includes cuts from Dark Funeral, In Aeternum, Usurper and Exhumed. If there’s a right way to do this record, this was it. On Necropolis Records.
Sodom, Agent Orange, Better Off Dead, Masquerade in Blood and Ten Black Years. It’s the Sodom collection, folks. All re-released for your terror. Classic speed metal staples like “Ausgebompt” (oh, they’re German…), “The Saw Is the Law” and “Iron Fist” – hey, that’s a Mötörhead song – well Sodom’s cover… Worthwhile ‘cos the first time around you got these on vinyl or cassette and now’s the time to crank up the violence. On Steamhammer records.
Luddite Clone, The Arsonist and the Architect. A lot of screaming and slashing death metal on what appears to be some sort of high-brow concept album. From the presentation alone and the cryptic song titles, I’d say this ought to be the discussion of the arty goth metal Satanic cocktail party crowd. On Relapse Records.
The Mystic Crew of Clearlight (e-mail ’em at email@example.com). Interesting and very weird hysterical Zappa-fusion metal jam sessions. Sort of like Kansas in a head-on collision with Clutch. That doesn’t do it justice, but this is one to keep playing and playing and playing; perfect for a roadtrip across the country. Note: it’s eyehategod, Crowbar and Down jamming together, kind of explains things. On Tee Pee Records.
Boulder, Ravage and Savage. I think this band really wants their fans to kill themselves. It’s damn evil, simply brutal all-out violence. It’s probably too much for some people to handle, and it looks like they set themselves and the crowd) on fire during live shows. On Tee Pee Records.
Uli Jon Roth, Transcendental Sky Guitar: The Phoenix/The Dragon. Mega-two CD set of metal guitar Yanni. These are amazing live recordings of mostly the classics (Bach, Beethoven, Mussorgskij, Vivaldi) done in symphonic-style electric guitar. Watch out, though because he tosses in a lot of Hendrix and his version of “Voodoo Chile” is mind-blowing. This is the first I heard of Mr. Roth, but I’m sure he’s the guitar god of Germany. On Steamhammer records.
Symphony X, V -The New Mythology Suite.This is metal really taken to the next level. Power metal opera, with an emphasis on power and opera. How do they do it? I mean, this is the kind of work that’s meant for the world’s greatest concert halls, like Lincoln Center or the famous European venues that hosted Mozart! It’s head-banging without question, but this, this is beyond awesome. I highly recommend everyone check this out; this is the real long-hair stuff. On Metal Blade Records.
The Obsessed. This is actually an historical document in the world of stoner metal. What’s now Spirit Caravan, the best of the Stoner bands out there (and certainly a guitar-hero band), was once the legendary Obsessed – from my neck of the woods in suburban Maryland. Half of it is studio work, the next ten songs are a live show from 1984 in Wheaton, MD. Damned heavy and intense. On Tolotta records.
Impaled. The Dead Shall Dead Remain. Disgusting death metal and odd electronics (maybe…) that picks up where Carcass left off. OK, maybe they picked up what Carcass left over… “Feces of Death,” “Immaculate Defecation,” “Faecal Rites” more… Um, this is actually quite good in that the lyrics are tongue-in-cheek and rhyme very well, for instance, “…Escherichia coli will act/As a complex glucose top/but it’s from the rectum I gain/The excrement which flows like rain…” Hard to tell, are they into shit or are they into gore and guts? Great cover, but you ought to be ashamed of yourselves… On Deathvomit Records.
Various Artists, Right In the Nuts: A Tribute to Aerosmith. Considering that Aerosmith, up through Rocks and Toys in the Attic were teenage staples of mine, I’m surprised that I really didn’t feel compelled to get back into them or I guess since I “grew out” of the 1980’s and 1990’s Aerosmith, hmmm. Well, it looks like a lot of these stoner and punk bands (e.g., Fireball Ministry, Atomic Bitchwax, Electric Frankenstein, Raging Slab, Roadsaw, etc.) kind of felt the same way. This rocks hard and is proof that 2000 was one incredible year for music. On Small Stone Records.
Brutal Truth, Goodbye Cruel World! Herein lies a two-Cd set of Brutal Truth live, doing covers (they cover the Boredoms!), screaming, grunting, everything. Quite probably the most abusive of the extreme metal bands, this is a page out of history… On Relapse Records.
Mötley Crüe, New Tatoo. I like Mötley Crüe, OK???!!! And if YOU don’t like it, you’re a pussy. They rock, dude. Plus their lifestyles are not what your teachers had in mind (that is, for my generation). The album’s got a lot of rock and roll on it, what else? On Mötley Records.
Mob Rules, Temple of Two Suns. Excellently crafted German power metal with strong operatic tendencies, including a full choir. Tells the story of a post-nuclear world ruled from the Aztec ruins. On Limb Music, the purveyors of the most epic, symphonic metal around!
Destruction, All Hell Breaks Loose, reissues: Best Of…, Mad Butcher/Eternal Devastation. Destruction, Germany’s metal giants who, in my opinion, deserve a genre all to themselves: submachineshotgunheavymetal. (They’re German and in the German language, you can make new words by combining and it makes total sense.) I’d be lying if I didn’t point out that the metalheads either hate Destruction or hail them as some sort of gods. It’s an acquired taste. At any rate, They’ve got the utterly blistering Mad Butcher and Eternal Devastation in one package as well as this Greatest Hits album that is packed with violence from all their records. Then there’s this new album that can only be described as a fusion of extreme metal with a song like “Exciter” by Judas Priest. Vocally, it’s a blitzkrieg of shotgun screaming, musically it’s kind of the same but there’s a lot of leads and such. They do, in fact, cover Metallica’s “Whiplash” on All Hell Breaks Loose.contact Nuclear Blast for the latest lowdown.
Herbert, Steppin’ Off to Eden. Stoner rock jazz. Must be experienced. Heavy Obsessed influence is apparent. On Fueled Up Records but it looks like Necropolis Records.
Baphomet Records which is some sort of subsidiary of Necropolis Records.
Dying Fetus, Destroy the Opposition. Extreme Death Metalism in defense of Liberty is No Vice. That’s about it. I keep getting pictures of Ralph Nader on steroids and armed to the teeth. On Oratory, Illusion – Dimensions. Operatic power metal from Portugal. Like Lacuna Coil, Oratory’s got a man and woman on vocals, though Oratory is metal. An excellent opera and another winner from Limb Music.
Stratovarius, Infinite. Top-notch metal opera from a band that’s getting a lot of attention from people who like a lot of orchestra in their metal. Much emphasis on a new age under power metal and a clean environment. On Nuclear Blast Records.
Sinergy, To Hell and Back. Sounds like the Great Kat transformed into someone who is a joy to work with and a lot of fun to be around. Excellent speed metal jams with articulate powergirl vocals. Secret cover of Blondie’s “Hanging on the Telephone” was most unexpected as a) I didn’t expect it and b) it sounds great! On Nuclear Blast Records.
Spaceboy, The Force that Holds Together A Heart Torn To Pieces. Spaceboy remains an enigma. Inspecting the album, the first thought is “Grateful Dead cover band.” Wrong. Spaceboy is evil beyond evil. It’s raging stonerdeathmetal. And just far enough out there that their intensity jumps on you like the sound of a Harley barreling down a city street. On .
Mötley Crüe, Live: Entertainment or Death. Double-CD live album. Mostly a greatest hits album with the tracks taken from live shows spanning the band’s popular career (about twenty years). Is it worth getting? Mötley Crüe are a great band to see live as they’re a lot of fun on stage and hot babes show up. Buuuuut, well, sure, just another way to hear your favorite Crüe hits. On Beyond Music.
Voïvod, Lives. Live recordings from Sweden, Holland, and New York from the post snake era. I haven’t listened to Voïvod for quite some time – mainly because I thought they’d broken up. Apparently French Canada’s finest band still lives. The sound is a lot more percussive, though the songs are familiar (as most are from the old days). On Metal Blade Records.
Deceased, Supernatural Addiction. Nice work. A collection of short horror fiction done to death metal. Nice work, gents! Features song-versions of stories by the likes of Poe, Matheson, and Bloch. Impressive and ought to earn ’em a Master’s Degree. On Relapse Records.
Nasum, Human 2.0. Evil Swedish death screaming blistering metal. Twenty-five ripping, agonizing calls to bring back torture – because someone’s going to like it. Strangely I am reminded of research biologists… On Relapse Records.
Far From Within, Tomorrow Never Happened. Agony, screams for help, tales of pain and abuse. Extreme mantras of dark metal agony. On Obese Squirrel Records.
The Haunted, The Haunted Made Me Do It. Evil. Evil. Evil. Serial killer theme songs and the like. Brutal, tight, punishing black metal. On Earache Records.
Apollyon Sun, Sub. One of the ugliest releases in my stack, Apollyon Sun play rough-edge death scummetel. Ugly it is, if you’re into musical atheism that adds some ugly electronics here and there, go for it. On Mayan Records.
Sea Of Green, Northern Lights and their Debut CD. Stoner metal that follows the strict formula: a) rely on the heaviest of heavy Black Sabbath riffs, b) never forget that metal means rock, and c) when in doubt, jam. Definitely a band that’s going to the top of the stoner metal mountain. On The Music Cartel.
Summon, Baptized By Fire. Hi-fi evil death metal. Classically-themed and brutal anthems to the army of the damned, etc. On Baphomet Records.
Six Feet Under, Graveyard Classics. Twelve classic tunes (e.g., “Sweet Leaf,” “In League With Satan,” “California Uber Alles,” etc.) done in the distinct death-defying deathmetal style of Six Feet Under. Extremely catchy, even the Monkees’ tune… On Metal Blade Records.
Downer. Don’t know what’s up with the kids today or if it’s me getting “older.” Because the heavy music without the true metal guitars, even tough it sells millions, does little for me. But maybe it’s the kids rebelling against their elders? On Road Runner Records.
The Bronx Casket Company. Sort of an Overkill (D.D. Verni and Tim Mallare) side project, this is one of the best releases of the year (I say that a lot because there are a lot of great releases this year!). I think I’d nail down as a cross between Type O Negative and the Misfits. In fact, vox are by Myke Hideous who sang for the Misfits for a couple of months – in between Mike Graves’ stints. It’s got lots of “ghoulishly” clever visuals and the songs are all about putting the “fun” back in funeral – except for their rocking-goth cover of “Jump In the Fire.” If you’re looking for one album to buy out of this whole mess or reviews, this would be the one. On The Music Cartel.
The Bad Luck 13 Riot Extravaganza, We Kill Children. These guys have issues. Strange death rap-metal conglomeration fronted by the likes of El Duce Allin, King of the White People and the Unibomber, it is made apparent that the album was recorded (or at least some of it) during a large-scale Halloween party straight out of the Jack Chick “Boo” comic strip. Best song? Without a doubt: “The Columbine Hig Alma Mater.” Not for anyone. On Too Damn Hype Records.
Lamb of God, New American Gospel. There comes a time when – now I don’t care if the band says “no, we don’t worship the devil…” – he says to himself, “this sounds like someone recorded an animal being tortured to death.” This is a new kind of evil, it rocks a bit, but mostly it’s blacker than black. On Metal Blade Records.
Dreams of Damnation, Let the Violence Begin. A lot of violence went into this project – the result of Death Angel futurist Jim Durkin fusing with Brazilian giant Charlie Silva. The result is very thrash and effectively brutal. It’s almost as though they’d beaten up the recording equipment this CD is so violent! On Necropolis Records.
Usurper, Necronemisis and Visions From the Gods. Sounds like Celtic Frost with a serious mean streak. Interesting mix of crunching melodic metal guitars with death metal overtones and make-up. Oh, there’s the extreme trash part… Also features King Diamond backing-up the title track (pretty amazing!) and a lot of Venom-esque silly metal brutality.Visions From the Gods is an album of outtakes and other songs that simply were too evil to be released on the public… On Necropolis Records.
Monstrosity, In Dark Purity. Their album cover alone is enough to disturb the bible scholars; it’s something out of a Hammer devil movie too creepy to release… 13 original classic death metal tunes with a Slayer cover kicker. On Conquest Music, Inc..
In Aeternum, The Pestilent Plague. The usual brutal Swedish neo-Viking violence as manifested through heavy metal. Kicks a lot of ass. On Necropolis Records.
Punk Rock/Hardcore and the Like
Those Unknown, Malice and Misfortune. A Wobblie pop-punk lovefest of an ep. I’ll be doggoned if I start a family and don’t have a million bucks in the bank prior. On TKO Records. If you want it, do a Fireballs of Freedom, Total Fucking Blowout. Incoherent, heavy rocking trash fuzz. A lot of grooving, and a lot of hysterical blathering that’s got to be an indication that the bands should cut down on the sugar. Definitely a keeper for fans of MC5-style rock and roll mayhem. On Estrus Records.
The Living End, Roll On. Almost-sugary sweet pop-punk. I say “almost” because they’re got the raging guitars, and who can argue with that? It’s fast, furious and not as gay as it could have been. On Reprise Records.
Various Artists, The Ecstasy of the Agony. Mega-compilation of Alternative Tentacles artists and political figures. Now, while Noam Chompsky’s interesting on what’s basically a punk comp, the inclusion of Professor Howard Zinn is amazing. I’ve read a couple of his books (he’s a commie America-hater), as should everyone and it’s damned impressive that they got him sandwiched between the False Prophets and Dead & Gone. 30 songs in all. On Alternative Tentacles Records.
Loose Lips, Talkin’ Trash. Fast trash fuzz. The fellows in the band look like your typical dropouts who do nothing but play rock and roll about your daughter… Worth it for the post-greaser greasers out there. On TKO Records, 4104 24th St. #109, San Francisco, CA 94114.
The Workin’ Stiffs, Liquid Courage. Workin’ class Oi!-based and beer-flavored punk rock. They look too old for this, so I’ll assume they all got established in the union before trying rock and roll. On TKO Records, 4104 24th St. #109, San Francisco, CA 94114.
The Fenwicks, Eudaimonia. Hysterical, near-incoherent pop-punk (a mix of the Butthole Surfers and the Monkees). On Flip-Dog Discs.
The Bent Scepters, Hellavator Music. The best psychedelic lounge surf music this side of the tiki torch store down the street. One of my favorite genres, this. I wish they’d play out, I’d wear a fez, loud shirt and drink pina coladas. Twelve songs with keen themes like cars, sex and 1960’s comedy heroes. On Ginger Records.
The Bar Feeders, Pour for Four, Por Favor. Alcohol-fueled, road-trip 100% American punk rock. Definitely a band to check out and throw a few elbows in the pit during their set. Great punk attitude on songs like “We Can Sleep In the Ambulance On the Way to the Hospital” and “32 Short Songs About Waking Up Naked.” They also have a sing-a-long called “I Am A Villain.” Give us more, dudes! On Fast Music.
Leftovers, 667. Speedy, solid punk rock in the vein of a New York Dolls Tribute band. Excellent guitar power with lots of glam sleaze. On Fueled-Up Records, a subsidiary of Necropolis Records.
Diabolique, The Green Goddess. Retro electronic goth-dance. Much in the vein of Noel, New Order and a whole lot of poofy bands that sure floated a lot of people’s boats about twelve years ago. On Necropolis Records.
Crease, Vindication. Obvious “next generation” of hard punk rockers. Very slick package and some “ballads” that nearly made me toss it. Even closer with their cover of “Jenny (867-5309)” – look out, they might be the band playing your 1980’s frat house reunion. Be that as it may, their saving grace is some of the tightest raging punk guitar work I’ve heard all year. On Roadrunner Records.
Sixer, Busted Knuckles & Heartbreak. Solid punk rock. On TKO Records in San Francisco.
Agent Orange, Greatest & Latest/This, That -N-The Other Thing. I’ll tell you one thing, the album title might make you think the band recorded this under less-that-motivated conditions, but it punk rocks! Excuse me, but these “old farts” got the punk chops and physical energy of teenagers. Really awesome power guitars with a lot of surf I believe they cover a Martin Denny tune on this one as well. On Cleopatra Records.
Shallow, 16 Sunsets in 24 Hours. Sounds like a decent cross between Jane’s Addiction and Alice In Chains. Pretty heavy, but mostly full of strange chord combinations and international political punk agony. On The Music Cartel.
Ratos de Porao, Sistemados Pelo Crucifa. Once a Brainhammer! staple, these Hardcore Brazilians have a nearly twenty-year history of musically terrorizing anyone in their path. OK, I know about ’em. This album is a re-recording of the first South American hardcore album, circa 1983. Though they’ve re-recorded everything using “modern” technology, the music is raw as hell and punk as fuck. On Alternative Tentacles Records.
Billy Joe Winghead. Freebird and Big Junk Day. This band needs a lot more respect than they get. Where is the big contract? Where is the movie deal? Who else plays a punk theremin like Billy Joe Winghead? Who else can get away with putting a half-hour of pinball machine sounds or a song about cleaning up vomit on a CD? Lots of bands that aren’t fit to eat the earwax of Billy Joe Winghead, that’s who!!! Freebird contains the Lynyrd Skynyrd songs as well as what appears to be a live show. Big Junk Day, in addition to coming with a used cue-tip, is 13+ songs about the seedier side of life and bodily functions with theremin antics (“Peter Gunn”) and another “Freebird” cut. “Wake Up” is their big hit and you should seek them out at Winghead.com.
Various Artists, Ska /SkunkChartbusters and TV Sucks. Collections of mostly German Ska bands – note “Skunk” = ska + punk, duh. All good. TV Sucks is frikkin’ disturbing; these are German punk and ska bands interpreting American (mostly) TV show themes. My personal fav: “Detektiv Rockford.” On Wolverine Records.
The Frownies. Poppy punk with the usual giving-the-finger attitude towards mom and dad, though these dudes look too old fer that. On Fast Music.
Zero Boys, Vicious Circle. A re-release from one more of the great lesser-known punk rock bands of the late 1970’s/early 1980’s. And one more reason I bitch that I was born one year too late. Another band I should have heard about while I was in high school. Had I, well, I think my life would’ve changed. As it is now, I’m just bummed that I never got to see the shows at the Ontario Theater in D.C. Worth it to hear what punk rock is supposed to sound like compared to today’s market-tested “punk.” On Panic Button Records.
On eX-Girl, Big When Far, Small When Close. Me: What do you think? Girlfriend: They sound like squealing mice! There should be a law against that! Conclusion: great stuff. eX-Girl is what I’d categorize as “experimental.” it’s three Japanese girls and their troupe making music with little else than their own voices. The effect is terrifying but interesting. The bottom line, though, is that people who don’t “like” this kind of stuff are philistines; they’re the ones with “no taste in music.” On Kiki-Poo Records.
Yellow Machinegun, Spot Remover. Extraordinarily violent extreme punk rock. On first listen I guessed that it was a roomful of Japanese schoolgirls screaming while killing cats with their guitars. I was partially right! On www.howlingbull.com.
Groovie Ghoulies, Travels With My Amp. Fun, poppy punk rock that I strangely have followed for more than a decade. Were people of consequence to know what this band sounds like, they’d think I’m a fag. Well, fuck you, buddy, maybe I really like listening to songs that remind me of Saturday morning cartoons, OK? Thirteen cool songs including “Hair of Gold (and Skin of Blue),” “Bye, Bye Brain,” “Leprechaun Rock,” and something called “Free Bird” could it be…? On Lookout! Records.
Hostile Omish, Olde Order of Omish. Omish (Amish?) hardcore, er “barncore,” band. Fronted by a man named “Filth,” these denizens of Cleveland, Ohio’s punk underground dress up like “Omish” people (plain, hats, etc.) and play punk rock. The gimmick works, but they’re pretty darn great no matter what. Love the songs “Get Retarded” and “Mosh Goes the Weasel.” On Jim Clevo Presentations.
Various Artists, Something In the Water: The Secret History of Long Island PUnk. Samples from punk rock bands now gracing Long Island, New York’s old age homes. Jimi Lalumia, Nihilistics, Ism, Dead Virgins, Horror Planet, Sea Monster. Sea Monster is the only one left these days. All good tracks, sounds “retro” – a good thing. On Winged Disk Records, P.O. Box 236, Neconset, NY 11767.
Seventeen, Bikini Pie Fight. Fun power pop with extra, extra guitars. Main interest: skinny, yet alluring white girls in string bikinis covered in whipped cream grace the cover. The music is good, but there should’ve been pictures of naked chicks inside the case. On XOFF Records.
Quibron, Not My Time. The next generation of true New York Hardcore, from under the Williamsburg Bridge, even! Seven great songs about the NYHC life and a few other things. Worth your time if you’re into the harder-edged hardcore that’s got itself one enormous underground following. Self-produced, how’s that for integrity these days?
Daycare Swindlers, Testosterosa. Hi-test punk rock. Fueled by good pornography, these D.C. punk rockers sure do write some “what the heck is wrong with the kids these days” songs. If only the parents would listen… On Vile Beat Records.
Secret Hate, Pop Cult Vomit. Old L.A. Hardcore punk band come back from the grave. Cool songs with some wicked guitar leads and a lot of attitude. They’ve crucified Iggy Pop on the cover, too. On Cornerstone R.A.S.
False Prophets, Blind Roaches and Fat Vultures: Phantasmagoric Beasts of the Reagan Era. A huge, 21-track, CD of unreleased stuff and a lot of singles covering the band’s life: 1981-85. I’m telling you, with a Republican in office you get better music, this is proof. Most of the songs are out of the blue anti-American this and that, like pro-Iran, stuff. It’s brutally honest, too. Another entry in one’s ever-growing library of punk rock history. On Alternative Tentacles records, who else?
Lower East Side Stitches, Lower East Side. Quality punk rock with a good flair for being snot-nosed. Good songs about punk rock things like life on the “edge” in New York City – that would be when you’re the bartender at the second-to-last punk rock club in the area… Lots of guests from the NYC punk rock world, a few cover songs, too. On Ng Records.
SPIT, America’s Sweetheart. A way-over the-top concept/pornrock opera from the Mozart of Minge, the Beethoven of Banging, the Salieri of Swing(?), Vinnie Spit and friends. Tells the story of a kid who’s shitted out of his mom’s butt (and he didn’t grow up to be a lawyer?), gets molested by his priest, makes a lot of money, destroys the company, hits the skids, gets drunk and laid, comes back in porn, yells at God and uses the toilet. Guest starring Ron Jeremy and Jello Biafra. Must be experienced at least once. Pushes the stool, er, envelope in state of the art pop music. On Pacific Force Records.
New York Dolls, Lipstick Killers. Another ROIR cassette-only release from the early 1980’s makes its way to CD. What it is is the first demos from around 1972. One more for the history books. Really raw of sound and hard of rock, as one would expect. On Reach Out International Records.
Adolf and the Piss Artists, Zero Hour. Fast, ugly, Oi!-based hardcore punk rock. I think their hair grows naturally like that… Starts off with “March of the Piss Artists,” that put me in the mood to take out my aggression on my kitchen walls. Not a good thing, but, man, it felt good. On GMM Records.
Johnny Thunders, In the Flesh. By the time this awesome live album was recorded, I actually knew how significant Johnny Thunders was (hey, I had to figure it out myself, eh?). So where was I in 1987? Well, since I’d been living outside of New York City since 1982 and I knew about rock and roll I should’ve been at this show!!! Buuuut noooooo, I had to be in Melbourne, Florida on April 4, 1987. Argh! For what I can tell, he’s sober or at least the drugs were “working.” Johnny Thunders literally rips this show with guitar wizardry and a lot of great tunes, including “Pipeline,” “Dead or Alive,” and a version of “Green Onions” with vocals! Incredible! And I missed it! But at least I have this. On Amsterdamned Records.
Thirsty Alley, We’re Thirsty Alley. Twisted shit that’s either jazz under the influence of a lot of drugs or it’s really a room full of five year-olds playing on mom and dad’s instruments and making gurgling sounds. Reminded me of The Linus Pauling Quartet, but this, I think, crosses over the line between unlistenable nose pickings and bored genius. Had it been more evil (or at least a bit more sinister), I could stomach it. I don’t believe it, but I’ve found an album that would make me leave the room. They produced it themselves.
Small Axe, A Blow to the Head. “I’ll take the blow to the head!” Rocking and grooving, sometimes it’s stoner rock, sometimes it’s guitar driven hard rock. Lyrically, it’s really strange. I wish they’d included more info, though. It might be that they’re deliberately mysterious. On Hoex Records.
Spiders & Snakes, London Daze. Nikki Sixx leads a double life or this used to be his gig. He’s in this band and apparently has been since before 1980. It’s glam-power hard rock. Or at least he’s put his name on lots of their songs. Check ’em out, they’re good rock and roll with a lot of bitch. On Sansei Records.
Gluecifer, Tender is the Savage. Loud, hard rock and roll. Reminds me of the Hellacopters. I can see them wanting to be the kings of rock. They got a lot of attitude, too. (Songs of choice: “I Got A War,” “Red Noses, Shit Poses,” and “The General Says Hell Yeah!”) On Sub Pop Records.
Death Threat, Peace & Security. Good, tight, hardcore with solid hardcore values. On Triple Crown Records.
The Gimmicks, Honeymoon’s Over. Guitar-powered, fast power with the appropriate Stooges derivatives. Hence, it rocks and rages. On Estrus Records.
Boots & Braces, 11 Pints of Oi! German-Irish Oi! connection. Mostly German. Awesome Oi! energy you can learn the language of Germany from. You can also hum these tunes while participating in soccer riots. On Metal Enterprises, but there was a GMM Records flyer inside the case as well.
The Booked, Feel the Pride. This album cover got the band in a lot of trouble. Why? Well, it’s a woman waving an American flag while standing on a Nazi flag. Um, the official story is that it’s a shot of some GI’s wife standing on a souvenir he brought home from the war. Other than that (which is a good reason to get the CD anyway) it’s high-end working-class hardcore-Oi! Scolds kids to get a job and work for a living, too. On Radical Records.
Fear, American Beer. Re-worked old Fear tunes (e.g., “Hard (cotto) Salami” = “Beef Bologna”) now become new Fear tunes. Songs about beer, women and insanity brought on by both. Includes the bitter “What if God’s Not One Of Us.” This album would be one of the best punk albums of the 1980’s, but it will have to settle for one of the best of the next ten years. On Hall of Records Music.
Plasmatics, Coup d’Etat. I briefly met Wendy O. Williams in 1986 during her Kommander of Khaos tour. I played it straight while a couple of “dorks” wearing S.O.D. T-shirts had me take pictures of them with her. They were dorks because they tried to get her to remember previous meetings during record signings and such, she didn’t remember them… Anyway, this re-issue of the 1982 album that stands its ground today, wait a minute, were it released today it would kick the ass of every hybrid “metal” band out there. But I gotta say this, no thanks, Wendy. I wish you didn’t kill yourself, it was a waste. On Razor and Tie Records.
Speedealer, Here Comes Death. Alas, REO Speedealer, I knew them well. OK, so the pussies at REO shitwagon, er, REO Speedwagon got their “cease and desist” paid attention to and the dudes in the potentially-sued band got their wish. It only made them mean, leaner and stupider. Like Mötörhead executed correctly by trained mongoloid idiots, designed for hi-fi systems that go to twelve, not just eleven. On Palm Pictures – a record company? Doesn’t matter, you’ll find this record, I know it.
Flatus, Blindsided. Another great punk rock record from Flatus, one of the underground army of bands who play punk rock the way punk is supposed to be played. Most of their songs point the finger at poser punks, alcoholic and drug addict wastes of life, too! On Black Pumpkin Records.
Patriot, We The People. Powerful, intellectually-challenging Oi!-based punk rock. Working-class hands in the air, too. Boots mandatory, etc. You’ll dig “Ales of Glory” and “Pub Heroes.” – If you’re a beer-swillin’ punk workin’ man, bub. Though “Novus Ordo Seclorum” should be listened to sober. On GMM Records.
Tidewater Grain, Here on the Outside. Well-crafted, heavy, almost-poppy version of what Temple of the Dog should have sounded like. Tidewater Grain retains the rawness of the early grunge sound yet adds a lot of rock “punch” to these twelve songs. On Ruff Nation Records.
Bersuit, Libertinaje. Manic Argenintian pop music that, judging from the cover art, focuses on the baser aspects of humanity. Mainly strange art, dolls, and women’s breasts. Nothin’ wrong with that. What’s my Caliente babe say about it? She was unable to decifer it.
Paul Metsa, Whistling Past the Graveyard. Fine album given to me by Mr. Metsa himself while I was covering Farm Aid back in ’99. Fine guitar-oriented pop with some rocking, folky, everyman blues with roots going back to a coherent Bob Dylan (really!). Hook up with him at Raven Records, 1818 LaSalle, STE 10, Minneapolis, MN 55403.
Fish Altieri, Anthology of an Unknown. Gay pop music. I don’t mean flaming homosexual gay, but it’s “gay.”
Jett Brando, The Movement Towards You. I don’t know whether to feel guilty or duped. I met a member of Jett Brando a couple of years ago and we got to talking about music. Basically, I’m into metal and punk. OK, he tells me, I’ll like his album… It’s not my cup of tea, sorry. If you’re into “mellow” you’ll dig it perhaps. On Gern Blandston Records, PO Box 356, River Edge, NJ 07661.
Various Artists, Battleaxe Warriors Compilation. One of the best album covers of all time graces this neat little collection of heavy rap. Basically, it’s Viking rap, if there were ever such a thing and Vikings were schooled in the best of underground rap. On Battle Axe Records.