November 2009

Necros: An Ohio Thrash

Reading American Hardcore is drastically different that watching the film of the same name. Although, there are similar historical transgressions and curios in both: Social Distortion is repeatedly referred to as a hardcore band as are the Misfits. But more importantly, to me at least, is the fact that Necros are lumped into a Michigan/Detroit scene that while the group was surely apart of, hailed from Maumee, Ohio. The Toledo suburb is probably known for something – what I can’t say – but it seems like taking Necros from Ohioans is unwarranted. I mean, are the Dead Boys from New York? Nope, but they lived there. Anyway…

Offbeats: An Intermediate Clevo Punk

As weird as the music history is in a general sense, the odd ordeals that Clevo based punkers endured through the ‘70s and ‘80s pretty much trumps everything else. No, there wasn’t a tour bus accident leaving a drummer one armed or anything so horrific, but there just seemed to be an endless amount of line up shifts, disappearances and missed opportunities. The Dead Boys moved away to attain stardom, didn’t achieve it and petered out after a second full length. And Pere Ubu – punk in only the most liberal terms – still records, but the only folks that really care about those new albums are dudes that speak French, so that doesn’t matter at all, now does it?

TWOFER: The Original Three and Tokyo Electron

The Original Three
Been Dealt a Losing Hand
(Empty Records, 2005)

The guit player/singer of this three piece punk outfit hails from The Black Lips. That carries a lot of baggage. Side projects don’t always come off as well as they should; like The Damn Yankees or any solo Mick Jagger or Keith Richards album. Been Dealt a Losing Hand, despite its rather lame title, delivers where other side projects have failed miserably in the past. The guitar duo and drummer are even joined by Jay Reatard and Alicia Trout, who produces three tracks, from The Lost Sounds. The star power (that term is being applied liberally) alone promises a set of good tracks. It really comes through. Unfortunately, since Empty Records was been rather busy, they didn’t have any time to check the grammar on the track “It’s Not What Your Thinking.” I understand this is punk, but that doesn’t say what band actually means. Poor grammar, though, can’t really detract from “The Line,” where our friend from The Black Lips makes good use of his voice and a plain melody. Between that track and “Vow,” the last track on the album, The Original Three reach almost anthemic proportions, but the album is only nine tracks. As a listener and not a critic, I want more. And probably, as a result of this album, I’m willing to pay cash money to see The Black Lips the next time they’re in town.

The Punks: A Transitional Noise

Yes, the Punks is a crappy name for a band despite the fact that this Detroit group cropped up during the early part of the ‘70s prior to the term’s being spread out all over the place. Comprised of singer Frantic, Al Webber on guitar, Craigston J. Webshire III behind the drums, Rod McMahon on bass and Steve Rocky playing lead guitar, the Punks were admittedly worshipping at the alter of Detroit rock stuffs. It’s pretty obvious – as is the Stooges connection, not just musically, but in Frantic’s singing.

Getting together in ’73 or so, the band plugged the gap between the MC5 and the Stooges who were newly demised and what would happen in New York pretty soon. No other band distilled the ‘60s stuff that came out of the Motor City as well as these folks.

The Necessary Evils: A Noisome Garage

The lineage of the Necessary Evils dates back to the ‘80s and includes a park ranger. That’s pretty awesome. Coming out of a group called the Beguiled, which released work through Dionysus Records and Estrus, the Necessary Evils formed after the death of the a member of the aforementioned group. Steve Pallow, the principal songwriter from the Beguiled kicked around for a bit and finally founded the Necessary Evils alongside James Arthur as second guitarist and Kyle John Hall on drums only adding Jimmy Hole on bass a few releases into its career.

Articles of Faith: A Chicago (Kinda) Hardcore

Defining hardcore and differentiating it from punk is almost a completely impossible endeavor. While the Zero Boys are unquestionably a good band, it seems to me that the Exploited were more of a hardcore group than the Indiana natives. That’s not to say that I appreciate one band over the other, but genre names result in this kind of stultifying mess. And with that being said, Chicago’s Articles of Faith come across as at best a deft mix of some nascent hardcore thing and aggressive, early ‘80s punk, not too different from the Zero Boys or even early Screeching Weasel (seriously, listen to “American Suicide” or “More Problems” and continue referring to the group as pop-punk).

The First Wave of US Punk

There can be no proper figuring of what punk actually is little lone when and where it began. Some useful markers crop up over time – like the Velvet Underground, the Dolls and the Seeds. But that doesn’t really mean anything at all. Some obvious groups have been checked as being the first proper proponents of the genre in the States. It’s all debatable and there isn’t anyway to include every (semi) important group into a single list, but what follows are some folks that pretty much everyone would or should consider historically important for one reason or another.

I realize that the West Coast isn’t represented here at all, but the scene over there could arguably be construed as a resultant effect of what was occurring in Indiana and all points East.

The Ramones

TV Ghost's Cold Fish

Since no wave happened after punk hit, does that mean that it’s a sub-genre of post-punk? And is post-punk a sub-genre of punk or does it stand on its own? Assuming that each is interrelated, no-wave is a kind of post-punk, which is part of punks development. So that means that I’m a dithering idiot for having thought that through.