Useless Pieces of Shit – Fuck Shit Up

Useless Pieces of Shit – Fuck Shit Up (dis-illusion records) 1987. The Useless Pieces of Shit were on my fifth hardcore podcast and goddamm it if I didn’t fall in love with the band all over again while I was working on that epic piece of podsploitation. Around that time, I shared the video for Fuck Shit Up on my Facebook page and I think it was shared around faster than any other video I have personally ever posted, which really says something. Most of the comments that accompanied the video as it spread like a disease across my friends Facebook walls, pointed out how generic and “HC by numbers” the band was and I can’t say I blame these people for thinking that. From every perspective this 7inch seems like the quintessential generic US Hardcore 7inch EP from the 1980s. Look at the cover. Look at the song titles. Look at the name of the band! I mean let’s deconstruct Fuck Shit Up a bit. What’s the deal with these guys?

Let’s start at the beginning when Useless Pieces of Shit, who also went by they quintessentially hardcore moniker of U.P.S. founded in Tucson, AZ in 1983. The original line-up were four crazy dudes who went by the quintessentially hardcore names of Sleepy Pieces (vox), Slug Useless (guitar), Rat Shit (drums) and Dr Blood (bass). Next order of business for the four amigos was the completion of a demo tape which they entitled the quintessentially generic Stupid Punk Demo. They then went on the required Stupid Punk Tour to support the Stupid Punk Demo and found demand for their tunes was so overwhelming that upon returning to Arizona, the band set about recording a 7inch to sell at their shows. At this point, original vocalist Sleepy Pieces left to get hitched in El Paso and was replaced by their roadie, the also quintessentially named Dumpy Pieces. Dumpy and the rest of the band recorded the masterpiece that we are currently discussing, the epic Fuck Shit Up.

Fuck Shit Up pretty much represents what it was like to be a hardcore punk in the mid-1980′s. The songs are all full of attitude, the riffs are fast and the lyrics are stupid. The cover has a FUCKING SKELETON SHOOTING LASERS OUT OF ITS EYES. The video they made for the song Fuck Shit Up (a different version than the one on this EP) is as quintessentially hardcore a video as one can imagine and this is where I diverge from the detractors who decried the bands genericism on Facebook. They are missing the point in that yes, the Useless Pieces of Shit pretty much singlehandedly exhibit every single trait of the US Hardcore movement of the 1980s but that does not mean that they suck. In fact, that is the core strength of the band! How many other bands nailed every single item? If you try to tell me that there were thousands of other bands like U.P.S. I would say no, there were thousand other bands that exhibited some of the traits of U.P.S., but how many got every single requirement? Maybe Chronic Sick, and everyone knows that those guys were awesome. Plus, the Useless Pieces of Shit were actually pretty good in that sun-baked, Southwestern Hardcore sort of way. They remind me of Stark Raving Mad, which is really never a bad thing. The beginning of Junkie Punks even reminds me a bit of the Meat Puppets, also from Arizona. OK, maybe that is going too far…

Posted in Arizona, hardcore | 10 Comments

LDoMoE Podcast #25 – 05/02/2012 Stumblemix

Podcasts Schmodcasts…this one is pretty epic, methinks. Let’s start with a great track by Pujol, a dude from Nashville who recently recorded with Jack White. The track Too Safe is pretty spot-on and I could not agree more with the sentiment. Next up is New Zealand’s own 1995 who sound more like they are from 1981 with the goth epic-ness of Foreign Soil. It’s been a long time since I have heard a new band and I thought to myself “gee, that sounds like Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry”. Following the doom-n-gloom of 1995 is fittingly enough, the band Doom Town from Saint Louis, MO. Doom Town is comprised of at least one member of Corbeta Corbata, a great post-punk hardcore band that was heavily influential and well-loved in the Saint Louis area in the early part of the century. Doom Town are working on their first formal release. Shrouded in Mystery is from their awesome demo.

Total Control from Perth, Australia follow with some punk that sounds very similar to Doomtown. Kinda cool how that works when you consider that these bands are from opposite points in the world ennit? Following Total Control is the decidedly non-punk of The Web from the always consistently awesome Noise Pollution Records label with Seed of the Scrotodhendron, a nice piece of Southern-Gothic tinged Prog-Skronkification. Next up are Turbo Fruits who apparently have a Lotta Lotta Ladies. The Turbo Fruits are from the currently jumpin’ Nashville scene and are currently on tour with Pujol who starts this podcast. After the Turbo Fruits are Les Savy Fav with Appetites. You can read more about them in Pitchfork I’m sure, but I do like their new album Root For Ruin even though it kinda reminds me of what the Rogers Sisters were doing eight years ago.

The next set starts off with another great Auckland-based band, Ghost Wave with their amazing song Sunsetter. Ghost Wave are from the neighbourhood of Sandringham which is literally right down the street from my house. It’s nice to have shoegazing drone rockers with a tuneful penchant for hooks and melodies in the neighbourhood. From the old neighbourhood is St Louis’ own The Wifflers with their heartfelt song Just a Feeling off the split they did with Black For a Second. Then we have the self-described stoner-punk of Zip-Tie Handcuffs with What Bitch? I’m gonna be honest here, I don’t hear any stoner influence in this. It just sounds like straight up, uber-tight Boston-area hardcore to me. Maybe the guys in the band were stoned when they came up with the description? Wellington’s own Rifles follow with the song Neitzsche is Dead, which is kinda witty if you think about it for a second. After that we get Slow Trucks from San Francisco with the lazy, Mascis-style guitar rock of Gotta Move Away.

A band that I saw at the Cropped Out festival in Louisville back in October that blew me away was The Young Widows. Super tom-heavy tribal drumming meets heavy guitar squall under cool lyrics about being in the Midwest. What the fuck is not to like about that? After The Young Widows are the Aggro Men from Auckland with a really ominous, dirgy sounding garage rock song called Ropes and Chains. After that are The Revilers from Boston, MA with Next In Line which has been remastered and is currently available on Patac Records. Rounding off the set is The Shipping News who I saw a million years ago at the Touch and Go Festival. This is from their new release One Less Heartless To Fear on Noise Pollution and I highly recommend it.

Following the Shipping News and moving into the third set, are Heavy Cream outta Nashville with their smash hit Watusi. When I look at the photo above, I can safely say that these are the kinds of chicks I would like to party with. The Nashville scene right now is pretty amazing what with Jeff The Brotherhood, The Turbo Fruits and Pujol. Add Heavy Cream to the mix y’all. I keep it rocking with the Turbonegro stylings of Badstrip and the sonic rock of Jet City. After going to Jet City how about going to Surf City? One of the great hopes of New Zealand right now, Surf City combine shoegaze influence with traditional Flying Nun dynamics to come up with a sound that is at once both traditionally Kiwi and also brand new and exciting. Definitely a band to look out for in the year to come.

Louisville’s Brain Banger is up next. What a great name for a band. Made up of at least one member of the Young Widows, my guess is that Brain Banger presents an opportunity to rock out in a more ridiculous fashion for the Young Widows guys. It does that, fer shure. I round off the set with two Midwestern avant-noise punk bands; CaCaw with Earth Doesn’t Deserve You from Chicago and the sadly defunct Glow Dick with Slow Crook from Saint Louis. Ah, I would love some toasted ravioli right about now.

The podcast continues with a great track by Cash For Your Stories, a Manchester, England band I featured on Podcast #3 about a year ago. The track Smack, is from a set of demos they have recorded. They are looking for a label. I say self-release and screw the middleman. Smack is followed with the great Small Town Metaphysics by a band called Catholic Guilt out of New Zealand. It was part of a free compilation released on Muzai Records. A great way to end another epic podcast.

LDoMoE Podcast #25 – 05/02/2012 Stumblemix

Pujol Too Safe
1995 Foreign Soil
Doom Town Shrouded in Mystery
Total Control total control
The Web Seed of the Scrotodhendron
Turbo Fruits Lotta Lotta Ladies
Les Savy Fav AppetitesGhost Wave Sunsetter
The Wifflers Just A Feeling
Zip-Tie Handcuffs What Bitch?
Rifles Nietzsche Is Dead
Slow Trucks Gota Move Away
Young Widows Mid-Western
The Aggro Men Ropes And Chains
Revilers Next In Line
Shipping News The Delicate
Heavy Cream Watusi
Badstrip Jet City
Surf City Crazy Rulers Of The World
Brain Banger Stay Down
Cacaw Earth Doesn’t Deserve You
Glow Dick Slow Crook
Cash For Your Stories Smack
Catholic Guilt Small Town Metaphysics

Posted in podcasts | 4 Comments

Androidss – Auckland Tonight / Getting Jumpy

Androidss – Auckland Tonight // Getting Jumpy (Ripper Records) 1981. An absolutely amazing 7inch by these New Zealand geniuses. This has got to be one of the most under-recognised new wave 7inches of all time and I am not sure why. Part of the problem may be that it was not featured on either of the big NZ compilations like Hate Your Neighbors or AK79. It always surprised me that the Androidss were not on AK79 because they had strong Auckland ties and were on Ripper Records. The B-side of this single is called Auckland Tonight fer chrissakes! Now I realise that the reason they weren’t on AK79 was because the single came out in 81. This may seem pretty rudimentary to you, but to me this is a big revelation. Anyway, with all this talk of Auckland it probably is worth mentioning that the lads were actually from Christchurch. They were made up of two sets of brothers, one set being the twins Eric (drums) and Stephen Marsden (vocals). Neil (guitar) and Mark Spence (keyboards) were the other brothers and the band was rounded out by Frankie Steentjes on Bass and Mark Wilson on guitar. Androidss had a dangerous vibe due to a couple of members doing jail time for drug related offences which is what essentially killed their career as a few of them ended up in the slammer. The press quoted none other than Iggy Pop as saying that “They’re tough as bitches but they’re beautiful!” Fact is, they were an amazing guitar based new wave act that really had tons of potential but was cut short due to unfortunate incarceration. As I mentioned earlier, the bands most well-known song was Stephen’s Auckland Tonight which was put to video for the popular show Droppa Kulcha on TVNZ. The other side, written by Mark Wilson and entitled Getting Jumpy apparently made it to number 18 on the NZ charts. Getting Jumpy is three minutes of guitar driven shake that is completely irresistible to my ears and will probably be to yours as well. The boys got back together in 2008 and played a reunion gig in Auckland. The following year, Stephen Marsden sadly passed away. A gig featuring a bunch of the old AK79 gang including the remainders of Androidss was held in remembrance in 2009. I really wish they had recorded more than this one great single.

Posted in New Wave, New Zealand | 6 Comments

Beluga and the Human Ashtrays

Beluga and the Human Ashtrays – Mars Needs Women // High ‘n’ Tight (Howard Peluso Productions) 1979. Punxpolitation from the pre-relevant era of Chicago new wave and punk. At least according to the great movie You Weren’t There: A History of Chicago Punk 1977-84 which positions the city as a dead skinny tie wasteland before bands like the Subverts, Naked Raygun and Strike Under hit the scene and added a hearty does of authenticity and grit. This has become an archetypal story in the various histories of punk rock/hardcore over the past few years and there are basically two variations on it. Archetypal Story Number One comes from the “elders” and generally goes something like this; “we had this creative, little scene full of artists which was (oftentimes) very gender open and gay friendly and these younger kids showed up and turned it into some sort of knee-jerk rumpus room full of jocks.” Archetypal Story Number Two comes from the up-n-comers and goes something like this; “the existing scene was full of poseurs and rock-n-roll wannabe’s who weren’t really committed, we came in and created a real scene that was ground-breaking and authentic.” What’s really cool about these two stances is that they are infinitely applicable. So a first wave hardcore scene could use Archetypal Story Number Two to talk about how it replaced the punk scene before it and then turn around and use Archetypal Story Number One to explain what happened when the next wave of hardcore kids took over. The next wave can do the same thing ad infinitum. What this enables is the false impression that the scene YOU participated in was the most authentic, the ones coming before just being a build-up and the ones after being a sad aftermath. What this really does is enable the author of said story to create a dramatic arc in which their era positions itself as the climactic moment. It’s all a bit narcissistic really. If you view punk as a succession of moments (or scenes) making up a larger historical musical wave, then the climactic moment is the one you participated in.

In Chicago, the new wave/punk scene was a build-up to the first wave of hardcore. There is still a spirited debate as to which wave of hardcore was the most authentic but the general consensus is that early Chicago new wave sucked. Trust me, if you can get Vic, Steve, and John to agree on anything, that’s a pretty strong consensus. So is it true? Well kinda. I think there might not have been much of a cool scene in Chicago before the first wave of hardcore. Just some lame punk clubs and a bunch of disparate singles. So yeah, it probably wasn’t as cool there as it was later. But historically, when you listen to the music of bands like The Cunts, Epicycle, The Mentally Ill, Wazmo Nariz, Skafish, Immune System, Kate Fagan, The Men, Meaty Buys, Bohemia, BoneMen of Barumba, Special Affect, JT IV, and Beluga and the Human Ashtrays, you realize that the story also isn’t totally true either. There were some great new wave tracks coming outta Chicago in the late 1970s/early 1980s. So what if the scene wasn’t as “authentic” as the later hardcore scene? Midwestern punk has always had a real jones for authenticity and certainly authenticity is one of the reasons Midwestern punk is so great. But an ever increasing need for authenticity can also be a crippling dead end.

So where does this leave Beluga and the Human Ashtrays? Well they are pretty good art-punk. Rumour has it that the backing band was actually Epicycle, a garage punk band who had a few pretty awesome songs. The lead singer was a very flamboyant local performance artist who I think wanted to do a “punk single”. The A-Side is pretty epic. Lots of different parts and some great hiccupy, new wave vocals. The B-Side is some pretty funny gay-themed punk and reminds me at the beginning of Gary Floyd or something. All in all, a solid new wave art-punk single. Not life changing but hey, it enabled me to ruminate a bit more on punk histories and the people that write them.

Check out the Chicago Punk Database for more fun facts on Chicago Punk and New Wave!

Posted in Art-Punk, Chicago, New Wave | 11 Comments

The Stickmen – Get On Board

The Stickmen – Get On Board (Red Music) 1983. Get on board for the funky hayride. What the fuck is this!?! It sounds like the missing link between Flaming Demonics-era James Chance and the early Real Men Don’t Kill Coyotes era Chili Peppers. Well in a way, it is. The Stickmen were and are the greatest band you have possibly never heard of. They released an amazing record back in 1982 called This is The Master Brew and followed it the next year with the slightly more professional Get On Board EP before calling it a day. Hailing from Philadelphia, one of America’s great new wave cities in my opinion, The Stickmen laid the gauntlet down on how to throw one fucked up party. Combining the visual aesthetic of bands like the B-52s with the new wave skronk of bands like James Chance and then ramping it up three or four notches, The Stickmen did not make nearly as much of a splash as they should have. Is it because their brand of high-energy, skronkofied funk was just too hard to get next to? Was it that they were a few years late on the No Wave thing? Was it the curse of Philly? Who knows? But in my universe, the Stickmen are bonafide legends. Combining the ungodly rhythmic prowess of Bill Bradfield on bass guitar, and Jim Meneses on drums/percussion with the squealing high end of guitarist and vocalist Peter L. Baker, keyboardist B.A.L. Stack, and Chuck Mattern Jr. on vocals, saxophone, trumpet and electronics, The Stickmen were pretty untouchable. Get On Board starts off with one of their most accessible songs, the five minute Funky Hayride before moving back into familiar territory with Bone Shadow a totally syncopated and fucked up new wave tune. Action Man kicks off with some great cowbell before Chuck jumps in with some great undecipherable vocals. One of my favourite Stickmen songs. Crash My Dome and Jampire keep the high speed noise funk flowing. After this amazing EP, and gigs opening for Gang of Four, The Slits, Oingo Boingo, Bush Tetras, The Pop Group, Nina Hagen and Wall of Voodoo among others, the band called it quits and to this day remains criminally under-recognized. In 2001 Cuneiform Records released the essential Insatiable CD.

Posted in No Wave, Philly | 4 Comments

The Squids

The Squids -Self-Titled 7inch (multinational tentacles) 1981. A much-sought after new wave classic from Hawaii, The Squids combined surf music with punky energy to create a pretty upbeat new wave concoction. In the case of the first track on this single, Tourist Riot, the concoction is most probably a Molotov cocktail aimed squarely at the tourists. I can’t imagine what it is like to live in a place that makes its principal income off of tourism having grown up in a place where nobody comes to visit. If I were to listen to the Squids, I would be led to believe it kinda sucks. In fact, they would tell me to fuck it and move to New York City. My only advice is that if you move to NYC to get away from tourists you probably should stay away from mid-town Manhattan. The next track, Theme From Surfboy is some great instrumental surf-wave played in the same manner as The Romans, The Tikis or The Raybeats. I’ve always been a sucker for trebly surf guitar and Eno-esque bloops and bleeps. One of the reason I liked Man or Astroman? as a pup, I guess. In is the most conventionally new wave of the set. It amazes me how influential the Talking Heads were back then. There are so many good bands from the era that incorporate the Heads’ vibe and I do not mean in a purely derivative way. Rio is a spy-music themed track that reminds me a bit of Oingo Boingo. The guitar playing on this thing is awesome and makes me wish my guitar and amp weren’t in storage back in the US-of-A. I guess I shouldn’t expect anything less than utter quality when the guitar players in question are named Rudy Tremelo and Beano Shots. Culled from the always amazing Hawaii 70s-80s Punk Museum.

Posted in Hawaii, New Wave | 3 Comments

LDoMoE Podcast #24 – 08/01/2011 Stumblemix

Back when I started doing these Stumblemix podcasts, I had planned on doing them four times a year. One for each season. I did a really good job of that until I moved to the other side of the world. Then I kinda dropped the ball. Oh well. The last podcast came out in September. At that time, I was still in the USA and Last Days was just recuperating from a complete technical collapse. Four months later finds me in New Zealand and Last Days seems to be in good health. Here’s hoping things stay that way. Cheers.

On this podcast are a bunch of new musical adventures. We’ll start with OFF!, the new Keith Morris project that has been making a lot of waves lately with older, grizzly punk dudes like myself. I personally was initially resistant to OFF! Because I have a hard time with the Antiques Hardcore Roadshow Revival Circuit and mistakenly wrote this off as just that, but Keith and company won me over because there is an attempt with OFF! to really create an aesthetic identity for the band based on archetypal signifiers that Morris and company were actually instrumental in putting together. The use of Pettibon art, calling the band OFF!, even titling the album The First Four EPs, shows a knowledge of hardcore punk as a cultural and artistic movement and makes OFF! considerably more legitimate than your average reunion concert. Plus the tunes just plain ROCK.

Following OFF! is Jeff The Brotherhood, a great duo from Nashville who creates some Helios Creed-level phase-riffage with U Got The Look. After that is The New Mexico, a great young hardcore band from Louisville who recently released a split demo tape with The Evil Grimace that simply put, peels paint off of walls. The Postures, a weird droning band from Wellington, NZ are next with the insanely addictive Poor Impulse Control. The first set is rounded off by the enigmatic Moon Duo, a sci-fi shoegaze act with ties to Wooden Shjips outta San Francisco.

The second set starts off with Black For A Second, a great hardcore band from Saint Louis, MO, my old place of residence. Following that is Kittyhawk from my newly adopted home of Auckland with the catchy New Wave-o-lishisness of Realistik Komputers. Next up is Ariel Pink and The Haunted Graffiti with Butthouse Blondies, a rockin’ little track off their new LP Before Today. Ariel Pink came to St Louis shortly before I left and I missed them. They are coming to Auckland in a few weeks and I will be missing them again. I guess timing is everything. Before Today is a headfuck of a record, I sometimes love it and I sometimes loathe it. I’m never impartial, which I guess is a pretty good review.

Following that is Pissed Jeans from their most recent 45. I had the pleasure of seeing Pissed Jeans at the Cropped Out Festival in Louisville back in October. The festival was sorely under-attended and the whole thing had a sort of sad vibe due to the fact that there were so few people. Kinda sucked really because the lineup was great and the folks responsible for it clearly put a lot of effort into setting it up. Hopefully next year more people will attend. I ended up behind Pissed Jeans when I was checking out of the hotel the next morning. Don’t let their name fool you. These four mild mannered young gentlemen were very sociable to the 60 year old lady working the check-out desk.

Next up is Street Chant, a great young band from Auckland who seem to have made quite a splash at the CMJs in Noo Yawk or something. Then we have Seattle’s own The Hollowpoints with some American Punk Rockery courtesy of the ultra-catchy Who Killed Anna Nicole?. This song was on a free compilation of punk from The Punk Site. A lot of it was not my cup ‘o’ tea but hey, it was free. Switching gears is the roots-weirdness of Pancake Breakfast from the Pacific Northwest with the haunting ditty Little Bird. Following that is the dreamy pop of Seapony with their excellent, sold-out single Dreaming. Pitchfork compares them to Best Coast, I hear early My Bloody Valentine but who is counting?

The next set starts off with more rural-gothic creepiness, this time from Wellington, NZ from the Body Lyre. My gawd. Back to Louisville for some more hardcore, this time by the band Xerxes. The set ends with Chicago’s Wishgift with a re-mix of their song Cream Acres that is available on their bandcamp page. Again, for FUH-REE. How about a couple of gospel tinged numbers? One by the indie-fanboy band Deerhunter and the other by the Auckland band Grand Prix, with their track Always Beginning from the great Arch Hill Records Ten Year Anniversary Compilation.

After getting all eclectic there, I thought it was safe to return to punk rock with one of my favourite bands of today, UV Race out of Australia who straddle the line very nicely between experimentation and rocking in the same way that bands like 100 Flowers used to. This is followed by a track outta Louisville by the band Chime Hours fronted by Duncan Cherry, the guitar player in The Straight A’s. Chime Hours had some serious disruptions getting this record together, the cover looks like a bargain CD from the 1990s and Duncan mildly vandalized my fence when I let The A’s crash at my house a few years back (which was pretty uncool, considering), but despite all that, The Chime Hours CD is pretty damn good.

Next, is Big Bear with the great Song 20 from their swan-song LP Under The Beach. All these great bands breaking up, what gives? After Big Bear, we have the heartfelt yet punky sounds of Stirling Says, a three piece melodic punk band who although they sound like they come from the Midwest, actually come from San Francisco. Then we have The Holy Mountain who are hardcore as fuck and rock out on their new album Here Is No Exit. I’ve added the title track to this podcast. The podcast is rounded off by Minnow, a sadly defunct band from Louisville with the title track from their swan-song LP Hello Hubris. I have reviewed Minnow in the past and I felt they were a great Midwestern rock band. Sad to see they break up but happy to have their great new album (on Noise Pollution, of course).

It’s fitting really, that I end the set with a song about hubris. Creating a podcast this awesome is clearly a challenge to the gods….

LDoMoE Podcast #24 – 08/01/2011 Stumblemix

OFF! Blast
Jeff The Brotherhood U Got The Look
The New Mexico Death Rattle
The Postures Poor Impulse Control
Moon Duo Dead West

Black For A Second Retarded Brains
KittyHawk Realistik Komputers
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti butt-house blondies
Pissed Jeans Sam Kinison Woman
Street Chant Scream Walk
Hollowpoints God Save Anna Nicole
Pancake Breakfast Little Bird
Seapony Dreaming

The Body Lyre Pig
Xerxes Runaways
Wishgift Cream Acres (Chomped and Chewed)
Deerhunter Revival
Grand Prix Always Beginning

The UV Race Good Money
Chime Hours Held Ransom For Olds
Big Bear Song 20
Stirling Says A to D
The Holy Mountain Here is No Exit
Minnow Hello Hubris

Posted in podcasts | 8 Comments

Babylon Dance Band – When I’m Home /Remains of the Beat

Babylon Dance Band – When I’m Home // Remains of the Beat (Self Released) 1981. Excellent early new wave / punk tracks from the future underground rock mecca of Louisville, KY. The Babylon Dance Band was for a brief moment the great new wave hope of Louisville. The story goes that when most of the members of the proto-punk band No Fun moved to NYC (where they kinda morphed into the ultra-abrasive and excellent Circle X), the guitar player Tara Key, stayed behind and joined up with Dave Bradley (drums), Chip Nold (vocals), Marc Zakem (guitar) and Tim Harris (bass) to form the Dance Band. They then rapidly started shredding up stages and blowing minds across the region. A subsequent interview in The Village Voice blossomed into a full-blown cover story and next thing ya know they were the toast of the town. By the time they recorded this 7inch they were a four piece with Tara handling all of the guitar parts and Sean Mulhall had replaced Dave on drums. If you read up on the band, you may come into listening to this with the expectation that this is some crash-n-burn punkasfuck thing but in true Louisville tradition, this defies expectation. Tara keeps the guitar relatively clean and Chip sings with a desperate tunefulness. If anything this is most similar to The Embarrassment, another unassuming band from the American Mid-West. The standout track is the A-Side, which will earworm its way into your head for days if you let it. After the Babylon Dance Band broke up, Tara went on to form Antietam, a band that was a staple on the Homestead label when I was rabidly collecting records on that label. The band reunited in the mid-90s and did a pretty good album but it lacks the new-wave agitation of this classic single. Pardon the scratchiness of the rip; I picked these up somewhere over the years. I would love to have my own copy of this but it has eluded me thus far.

Posted in Art-Punk, Louisville | 4 Comments

Billy Clone and the Same – X and Y

Billy Clone and the Same – X and Y (Moon Dog Records) 1979. What we have here is some serious rock-n-roll, rama-lama from Phoenix, home of great bands like The Consumers, The Brainz and The Red Squares. In fact, I would place this in the same class as the classic Modern Roll single by the Red Squares. Very jittery and jumpy punk that must have had all the kids dancing the hot Arizona nights away back in 1979. Billy Clone and the Same was the early brainchild of singer Mike Corte who formed the band with his cousin, drummer Darrell Gleason, bassist Damon Dorion and a guy named Bruce Connole, an American singer, songwriter and musician who now lives in Nashville. Bruce and Damon went on to form the more new wave Jetzons who should really be a future post. Unfortunately Mike died of a heroin overdose which effectively ended the band. The standout track here is Asexual. If you were to look up “pogoing” in Webster’s dictionary, you would find an mp3 of this song. Actually that’s silly; they don’t have audio samples in the dictionary. The solo part of the song where each member does a breakdown is one of my favourites of all time. I just love how deliberate bands like this were in trying to subvert rock traditions. There is a similarity as well to a lot of great Texas bands of the time in that there is an almost rockabilly feel to the music. So they were incorporating rock traditions while subverting them. Genius, eh? Bonus points go to Pyro Gyro for being the coolest Talking Heads knock-off this side of the Standing Waves. Culled from an amazing site called AZ Local that everyone should check out as it is chock-full of new wave rarities from the region.

Posted in Arizona, New Wave | 5 Comments

The Best of America Underground

The Best of America Underground (ROIR Cassettes) 1983. I picked this up at The Great Streetside Records Purge of 1994 and I have never been the same since. This tape, more than anything else, reintroduced me to the New Wave underground of 1980s America. Sure I was familiar with The B-52s and the Talking Heads but by 1994 my mind had been so abused by Hardcore, Noise, Grunge, Pigfuck and just general guitar based squall that I remember thinking the song World War III by The Suburbs sounded positively revolutionary, what with its rollicking melody and catchy guitar riff. All of a sudden, those Live Skull records I had bought on Homestead seemed kinda boring and I began falling in love with New Wave all over again. There are just so many classic songs on this compilation; from the sugar-sweet powerpop of The Shoes to the avant-Eno stylings of The Styrene Jass Band. How about the classic New Wave ska sounds of the Erector Set and the fractured grooves of Pylon as they “eat dub for breakfast”? And that is just part of the A-Side of this classic tape, released by ROIR, a cassette-only tape company that used to advertise in the back of Trouser Press and was responsible for more cool releases than you can shake a stick at. Other standouts include Algebra Suicide with their poetic True Romance at the World’s Fair and the Tweeds with the powerpop of Underwater Girl. How about the art-punk of the Bizarros and the New Wave fun of the Dub Rifles? And then of course, they end the tape of with Armand Schaubroeck doing a shortened version of the Independent Hitter, a completely indescribable piece of performance art. I have swapped out the shortened version of the song with the full length version of it from his classic album Ratfucker because I am, at heart, a giver.

The Best of America Underground

01. Chris Moffa & The Competition / You Know How Hot (It’s Been Getting Around Here)
02. Martha Hull / Feelin’ Right Tonight
03. Norman Salant / Tickets Are Free
04. Erector Set / Inside Out
05. Poli Styrene Jass Band / Drano in Your Veins
06. Shoes / Like I Told You
07. Nerves / Working Too Hard
08. R. Stevie Moore / Manufacturers
09. Residents / The Booker Tease
10. Pylon / Dub

11. Gary Valentine / The First One
12. Fans / True
13. Tweeds / Underwater Girl
14. Bunnydrums / Crawl
15. Wrinklemuzik / A Move to the Right
16. Algebra Suicide / True Romance at the World’s Fair
17. Suburbs / World War III
18. Dub Rifles / Stand
19. Bizarros / I, Bizarro
20. Armand Schaubroeck Steals / The Independent Hitter

Posted in New Wave | 9 Comments