June 2010

The Village Pistols: A NC (Punk) Goof

The Village Pistols are not in anyway affiliated with the British punk scene. Its name would, obviously, lead listeners to figure otherwise. But if one got the chance to hear a few cuts from the band’s singles or any of its compilation appearances, the Village Pistols might still come off as the immediate precursor to Chaos UK and that strain of latter day punk.

Most of that association is by dint of the band’s vocalist grunting his way through whatever offering one lands upon. It’s not quite as disposable as the Exploited or that early crusty stuff, but gets pretty close.

TWOFR: The Weirdos x Wavves

The Weirdos

Destroy All Music

(Bomp!, 2008)

It’s a curious thing. As collectors of punk ephemera age, maintain jobs that can support frivolous habits and continue to stock pile any remotely relevant snotty nugget, this community of nerds, grown ups and label heads seem to ever more resemble jazz collectors. Surely, there’s some overlap, but even in the releases being offered up, one notices similarities to track sequencing and packaging. For instance, would the listener prefer to hear the two existing studio versions of “Destroy All Music” back to back? To a certain extent, it doesn’t matter, because this release will be purchased by those that hoard music. These songs are all of a variety of punk that has been disseminated in the past thirty years. However, the Weirdos helped create what would become trite and clichéd. There are demos, most of which would eventually become the Destroy All Music disc and the single itself. Rounding the compilation out is the Who? What? When? Where? Why? mini-album, which seems to have more in common with ‘80s hard rock than punk. Curiously, the Dangerhouse single We Got the Neutron Bomb is absent. With that glaring omission collectors, geeks and completists will unquestioningly keep the Weird World compilations within arms reach.

Come On and Freak Out in the Morticians' Garage

Amongst the refuse pile that was the eighties’ psych and garage revival were a handful of notable releases. Of course, anything dug up at this point will unquestionably be lauded as the missing link between those olden days and newer tripped out sounds. The Morticians have probably had all that levied upon it – warranted or not. And while there’s not a good reason to dismiss the band, there’re actually a couple reasons that the group’s 1987 Freak Out with the Morticians should be explored a bit.

Tales of Terror: A Secret History of Sacto Punk

There are probably more bands hailing from Sacramento than most folks would be able to name. Despite the city’s relative proximity to the Bay Area, group’s don’t very frequently make it to a great renown. Ganglians was the town’s last shot, but it doesn’t appear that the ensemble is going to turn in work as well wrought as “In June.” Bummer.

Either way, twenty some odd years prior to Ganglians releasing small run records through Woodsist, Tales of Terror showed up, presented a promising future and then subsequently fell apart. It’s pretty much the same story as any number of other punk bands hailing from the early and mid eighties with one difference. A lot of people figure the band as the impetus for the Seattle thing that would crop up a few years after the band’s dissolution.

The Reactors: CT Punk Rendered in NYC

You ready? Here’s all the information pertaining to the Reactors, a KBD affiliated group hailing from Conneticut which relocated to New Yawk to make it big and all.

Sheperd Ginzburg plays guitar while screaming in tune, Bob Payes plies bass strings and Cathy Burke bashes drums in proper time. The band issued a self released seven inch in 1979 sporting two tracks: “I Want Sex” b/w “Seduction Center.”

There ya go. That’s it. The rest is all a venue for my pontificating on the meaning of it all – and after listening to the band’s collected works, as issued through the Italian imprint Rave Up Records, I’m not too sure that it means much of anything.

TWOFR: Rhino 39 x the Carbonas

Rhino 39

Self Titled

(Nickel and Dime, 2007)

Nuggets and all of the KBD compilations have served to illustrate the point that, if your band has one really good song, it might only be part of a shitty album – that is if your band even got around to recording the ten songs it knew.

Rhino 39 can not be categorized alongside those acts though. Their various compilation appearances as well as their lone single point towards what could have been an indispensable artifact of the ‘70s LA/LBC punk scene.

Along with those released sides is an unearthed clutch of tracks recorded with original singer Dave Dacron. It’s always difficult to pin point the birth of a style, and some point to this work here as early hardcore. That point can be debated, of course, but Rhino 39 performing alongside Keith Morris era Black Flag serves as indisputable evidence.

Cult Ritual: How to Experiment in a Vaccum

Hearing Cult Ritual’s self titled long player only results in questions – well after you get over the fact that music appears to be more thoughtful than a huge portion of the hardcore getting attention today, or yesterday. As a disclaimer, though, my depth of knowledge in this particular strain of music doesn’t run that deep. I mean, I saw Sex Vid…once. They blew stuff up. It was rad.

Mittagspause Means Lunch(time)

Gaining entrance into Germany’s underground music scene is, for some relatively easy. But after wading through the most famous and popular (?) krautrock bands, where is there to go? With the revelation that Germany was instrumental in propelling popular forms of music into the avant garde territory, it would make sense that subsequent psychedelic and punk musics would ape a similarly bizarre mode of expression.

Bands like 39 Clocks were a bit of all the aforementioned music – and they should have been, seeing as the group was German and all. And while that ensemble didn’t sport a full line-up, using a duo set up for great portions of its career, the minimal approach to personnel seems pervasive in the country’s music history. Even Kraftwerk, for a time, was a duo.

Effi Briest: A Sacred Bones Misstep

Psychic Ills issued two of the better full length albums springing from the first decade of the new millennium. Dins should easily be figured as the stronger release. And where the following Mirror Eye was and expansion on some of the spacier, ambient moments from that first disc, it still counts as a stand up, if not willfully trippy, rock act by a band attempting to mine the depths of ambient music.

That album – and it’s bassist Elizabeth Hart – should rightly be considered the precussor to what Effi Briest has become. It doesn’t even matter that Hart wasn’t the impetus for the project, but her contributions as well as the back catalog she’s associated with informs Rhizomes to the fullest.

The Whines: A NW

Asking what kind of band your in is probably one of the most obnoxious and difficult to answer queries on the face of the earth. For the most part, it can all be reduced to a reply including the phrase rock and roll. And while that doesn’t any longer mean too much, the response is a far sight better than saying lo-fi or downer psych or whatever other inane answer might be proffered.

But what that situation also points to is the further smearing of any genre guidelines as it seems that garage, punk and psych are increasingly being used in tandem to arrive at some final product. That’s the case, at least, for Portland’s the Whines.