July 2009

VKTMS: Inheritance from Earlier Ensembles

The ‘70s Bay Area punk scene has been kinda drowned out in the constant fervor that props up both the New York and Los Angeles scenes. Not to discredit either of the latter named cohort of bands, but as much experimentation was going on within the punk genre (that means with out inserting funk or some other such influence) in and around Nor Cal as anywhere else. Flipper still trips people out – having Krist Novoselic on board probably doesn’t hurt – and Chrome has maintained a weirdo following since the release of those first two albums. But even when contrasted with Rhys Chatham or some other tangential east coast scene-person, the Bay Area bands still maintain enough individuality to distinguish them from peers in other cities.

Jay Reatard: A Bit of a Downer

Jay Reatard has been recording music for over a decade now. And while that sounds strange to us, it’s probably as bizarre to Mr. Reatard himself. But over that ten plus years of output, he’s been able to insert himself into the way in which I perceive my life. It’s odd to think that some of his music has stuck in my head for so long as to have defined situations that I’ve gotten through. From driving through some burnt out part of Cleveland in a friends pick up truck to walking down the street in Seattle, despondent due to too many things that couldn’t be summed up in a sentence or so, Reatards’ music has a viable average-guy quality to it all. Of course, the fact that most of it’s about losing his shit probably has at least something to do with all of this.

The Razors in the City of Death

I genuinely don’t know anything about Belgium. I guess I enjoy some of the country’s beer and the Kids are easily one of the best punk bands outta Europe. But beyond that, there’s not a whole lot of info floating around in my head about the country. Presumably due to its relative proximity to England some of the punkers on the continent copped a pretty respectable sound. Of course, that’s again a reference to the Kids specifically. But if every band that came outta Belgium had some sort of relation to that group it’d be pretty impressive. That’s probably too much to ask, but the Razors possessed a sloppy punk acumen that might have been more abrasive and less melodic than the bouncy Kids. The fact remains, though, that what the Razors did release was pretty much golden.

The Homosexuals Get Gay with Punk

In the catalog of lost punkers, the Homosexuals rank up there with the greatest reverence paid to a group that never really didn’t too much to get beyond the realm of England. Of course, a huge number of short lived bands could say something similar. But considering the Homos existed for roughly five years during a period of time when punk seemed almost like a commercially viable music, it’s only the band’s disregard for success that the group remains little more than a name to the majority of punk enthusiasts. But England was a heady place and that was a rough time – from all reports at least. The eventual dissolution of the group, though, only served to bury the Homos underneath a pile of spiky haired nonsense that would end up wrecking the genre for a good long time.

Trash Dog: A Hard Day's Night People

The lo fi thing has hit its stride. And the limited release deal that goes along with it seems to have become almost as lucrative an endeavor as a fake job might be. But even with these (minimal) cultural events occurring everyday and legions of other closeted dorks figuring out how to screen print some nonsensical design on a sleeve for a seven inch or other esoteric way by which to disseminate music, the tunes that result aren’t always of the highest degree of accomplishment. That’s strictly opinion – and while I can’t explain my own personal contributions to recorded music, any more releases (physical or otherwise) by the likes of Emeralds or that entire cohort probably just doesn’t need to happen.

The Morlocks: The Ghost of Gerry Roslie

When your band releases more live sets than actual studio work, you know that there was and or is still a problem. What that problem is might not be obvious, but it’s there guaranteed. As an extension of the arm of the Paisley Underground, a group of San Diego natives called Gravedigger V came to the attention of Bomp! head honcho Greg Shaw. They got a little deal just like the rest of the garage retreads from that first resurgent era of garage. But out of that ensemble came a few of the principals that would make up the Morlocks. Comprised of at least two members at any given time from that other group, the Morlocks recorded just over a full length’s worth of material during its initial life span. Of course, they’ve been reconstituted and are currently touring in Europe, but you know…