Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Movements/The Angry Dead Pirates split 10"

(Pariah Records) The beautiful split EP on a French label features desperate garage trash-meets-space psyche-with some spaghetti western sauce on the side by Sweden's the Movements. The psyche serving on their side of the split comes via a cover they do by split-mates Angry Dead Pirates from France who craft some genuinely out of this world psychedelic fever dream soundtrack strangeness (and a cover of the Movements which they manage they warp and twist psyche-cordingly). Don't know how impossible it will be for American readers to find this, but try to make it's worth whatever tariffs you have to pay (though as 10" I'm not sure you can swallow it in a condom and smuggle it inside your body...unless you're very talented).

Friday, August 10, 2012


(Slow Gold Zebra) These (primarily) former Crimson Sweet-hearts do what they've always done...make glammy, rockin', trashy, hooky, pure punk that all seems to good to be new! There's a song on here called "Sex Offender" which I couldn't believe wasn't a cover of some rare 70s Killed By Death 45 until it occurred to me that "sex offender" wouldn't have been a buzz word in the era of Woody Allen rape jokes and trench coat flasher punchlines and the "streaker" fad. This record is so good that if it was a 1-900 number I'd call it to hear this stuff!

White Faces

(Windian) Creepy power pop garage punk from Milwaukee that is bratwurst for my ears! My definition of creepy power pop is that all the songs are about girls, but you're worried about the girls. Some White Faces songs aren't about girls, btw; the best song is about being lazy.

Summer Girlfriends "Shockwaves"

(Addenda) Full disclosure: Even if I hated this record I would say I loved it, because without a doubt this LP has the 11 best song titles EVER! "Dirt Under My Nails," "PG-13 Sex Scene," "Balloon Rooms," "Lost Boys," "Milo and Danzig," "Shake and Bake"...and there's five more! Universal or whatever the name is of the last big record label should just hire these women as song title consultants and put them on a huge retainer. I was just reading an interview with that Cheap Time guy and he said that when he was in high school he would just come up with song titles, not songs, all day in school, and then go home and improvise a new album every week based on the titles...and that guy's awesome, so don't sleep on the titling! Fortunately, though I would lie in deference to the song titles, I don't have to (or do I?) because these slightly weird, sunshiny, reverby, middle-fi, moody pop girl group gems are a delicious candy with a weird aftertaste!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

American Girl by Roxanne Fontana

( (Guest Review by Marcia Wertheimer)

I opened up Roxanne Fontana’s book American Girl expecting the usual R&R Odyssey we’ve all read and heard before, most of which are primarily fluff.  Not here however!  You open this book and you’ve entered Roxanne Fontana-land.
This is not the usual fare. This is not the same old story told once more with different names and faces.  Roxanne is unique and this becomes more and more evident as you read on.  She is different than your run of the mill average talent seeking recognition and a career because she is an above average talentRoxanne’s music is the key to this book and you can hear it resonating through the stories and the pages.  Artists like Roxanne are rare to come by. Stories like Roxanne’s are beyond rare. This book is an extension of Roxanne in her truest form. You will not be able to put it down.  
Rock n’ Roll is not romantic. It is in truth, the breeding ground for werewolves and vampires, since long before those possessed souls took their angst public and became fashionable to 14 year olds.  And that is about the age that Roxanne Fontana got bitten….and that’s where the bloodlust begins.  But fast forward through all the clichés and “trips”….and decades…. We’ve heard them many times before. Each individual one with its own spin and spice all getting twirled together like a stick full of cotton candy, large and colorful and yet ultimately all the same end product emerges in the fluff.
Now, come through that fluff to the other side, and you’ve entered this Roxanne Fontana-land, a kind of danger filled twilight zone where stories and anecdotes; world travels (alone no less), friends and enemies made in strange locations, and so on are incidental, interesting or not, they come and go and they aren’t what Roxanne’s book is about at all. Nor is it about her Tom Petty days, CBGB club dates, or her pot dealing right outta “weeds”, her wander in or across Eastern Europe so strange and totally alone.  The cat she paid her only money to cure, says a lot.  Travel down the path of Roxanne’s adventures and travel down a path you’ve never traveled before …. you’ll catch a fleeting glimpse here and another there of this brave – and I mean extremely brave young girl, who by the way also wound up in the Los Angeles Music scene, after a big success in the New York Music Scene.  
Imagine an undiscovered, or worse, an underappreciated artist operating on the level of an Amy Winehouse, or a Bob Dylan, or Mick Jagger, or Leonard Cohen.  And imagine those people having never, for reasons of fate, or Karma, etc., got their “break”, or their deserved feedback for their level of Vision and Talent!  Imagine Mick Jagger today as a frustrated, retired gym teacher; or Dylan, as an accountant somewhere in hell in the upper Midwest with Blonde on Blonde and Highway 61 songs on obscure and unheard cassettes in a file cabinet.  Imagine Amy Winehouse still alive, yet in another kind of oblivion and working on one part time job after another while melodies explode through her soul all day, every day, year in and year out.  That’s really what Roxanne’s story is about. Not her adventures but about her Soul!  Roxanne Fontana is no “wanna be”. She IS Dylan or Jagger or Winehouse, without the fame. 
But behind the stories and the journey as interesting as they are, they are the transitory, passing events. But they aren’t what “American Girl” is all about.  Nor is American Girl about Roxanne’s encounters with various celebrities such as Tom Petty to name but one; it’s not a name dropping book at all.  What it’s about is Roxanne’s Creative Force and its effects on her life in every way. From that force came the power to travel the world alone in search of the elusive butterfly.  The intense need to communicate the visions the force generates.  Most performers are driven by needs based on ego and self worth issues and are not operating from that level of Creative Energy that Roxanne operates from, if any at all.  What this book is about is the Creative Force that resides within high level artists and how when that force is not carefully attended to by both the artist and many outside forces, turmoil brews and over time can consume it’s host or try to!  That is what the cliché term “suffering artist” is all about.  What appears to be vanity and self absorption is a total misconception seen by ignorant observers. What you’re really seeing is the effect of the Creative Force’s intense need to communicate the visions that are constantly overflowing and Roxanne’s forces are strong.  Most R&R people however are not operating from that level of Creative Energy, if any. Roxanne is!  True Artists and Creatives are truly rare and when they see the fame and adulation given to those mere imitators and posers, they grow bitter and more creative.  Roxanne is true and trying to navigate her way through a world of pure bullshit and endless jive.  Roxanne has enough power in her talent to have made a mark.  A real and impactful one, “if only” the fates had thrown her a bone, rather than turning every break and opportunity that entered her life, into a series of let downs in varying degrees.  I could go on about all the incidents in Roxanne Fontana’s American Girl book, and they will hold you and entertain. But to me they are secondary to the soul experiencing them.
Read between the lines. Say hello to her soul. And pass this along to everyone you know. And the next time you find yourself getting misty eyed over some fame hungry rock or pop idol worshipper of the various talent contest T.V. Shows, doing an imitation of someone else’s imitation, don’t grow jaded, keep in mind that there are true to their core real artists out there and go to your computer and see and hear what’s really out there.  And now and then, and here and there, you’ll stumble into one of the Great Ones and say “Wow - where’d she come from?!”
Roseanne became Roxanne because she is and has always been Roxanne Fontana!  A name that in and of itself sounds like a song.  So listen to it. It’s all there between the lines in this American Girl’s odyssey.  And get Roxanne Fontana’s music now and get her American Girl book. And pass the word.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

M.O.T.O. "Bolt!" "E. Plurbius M.O.T.O."

(Rerun) Paul C's masterful M.O.T.O. music making project has been in full effect since (at least) the mid-80s, and the recent thick vinyl reissues of two legendary cassettes from his first decade explain why he's a legend in New Orleans and Chicago and make it baffling that he's unknown everywhere else. I didn't discover him til around '92-'93, when the "E. Pluribus MOTO" tape came out, and I can tell you that tunes like "It Tastes Just Like A Milkshake," Straighten It Out," and "Cancer In My Dick" still give me a warm feeling in my (fingers crossed) non-cancerous dick. But every one of these two dozen poppy, no-fi, delightfully disturbing monsterpieces is classic. The '86 cassette "Bolt!" has lots of tunes he was still playing regularly five years later (and may still be), like "Dick About It" and "Astronauts," and it was a real pleasure to spin this over and over in the 21st Century on pretty black vinyl. Not sure if my turntable is fucked or if these have been mastered from aged, stretched cassettes, but the imperfect sound made these more perfect. Obviously!

Bing Selfish "Selfish Works" EP

(Messthetics) So...pretty much all that the dude from Messthetics/Hyped2Death must ever do is uncover/luxuriate in/contemplate the most amazing, rarest, strangest, most mindbending British 45s and cassettes from the 70s and early 80s, many of which end up on his comps. So what would it take to inspire him to reissue one of the hundreds of magic gems he's found as a stand-alone vinyl single? Is this the absolute best weirdo record ever made? Is this so strange it will turn brains and ears inside out? Is this such the definitive statement of the Messthetic aesthetic that it had to re-appear in its original form for the sake of humanity's good? Upon a bunch of pleasant, slightly confusing listenings, I'll say no to all of the above. In fact, the latter is completely moot, as this was originally a 12" in 1983. It was its existence in that format that may have paved the way for this reissue...when it was discovered Selfish had leftover 12" records without covers Messthetics made new covers to distribute that vintage vinyl, and that led to this remastering, repackaging, and reissuing. While the original issue, fitting into no genre or scene, was originally ultra-rare based simply on no one knowing how to distribute or market this oddity, I would venture to guess that the main reason this is being championed now is that Bing Slefish's decades of outsider creativity, recording countless songs over the years, writing, drawing, filmmaking, and creating a loopy website for all of it, is too impressive to ignore. This is a genuinely strange collection of tunes, recorded in Barcelona over old tapes of Spanish traditional music, some of which was incorporated into these disturbingly mellow, always slightly askew songs about places, people, emotions, and adventure. Ultra-dry British humor, avant-garde genre-disregard, catchy pop tendencies, and a voice like a children show's host talking to puppets make Bing a great thing. Still not sure why this exists, but perhaps that's the point.

Modern Pet/P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S. split

( If this spilt single was a Battle of the Bands it would be a bloody battle. Modern Pet take their Teutonic take on new wave trash punk to an extreme, delivering incredibly catchy, bouncy mayhem. But the P.R.O.B.s rob their German buddies of the trophy by simply pummeling them with pure power. What could they be so mad about living in's lovely there? 

The Unpop Sound "Candy Anne" b/w "Three Eyed Gemini"

( Spare bubblegum drone psyche ("Brother, can you spare a bubblegum drone psyche?") that's just warped enough that if you left this record on your car seat in the sun for an hour and then played it, it would probably sound normal.

Mouth Breathers "Anxiety" b/w "The Creeper"

(In the Red) Ominous garage weirdness that sounds like a 70 Cleveland punk 45 played at, like, 51 rpm on a slightly fucked turntable. All I remember about visiting Lawrence, Kansas is a good pinball bar, bad tattoos, and being offered heroin (for's a generous town, apparantly), but this band is making me re-access my prejudices...these dudes make the Mortal Micronotz sound genuinely mortal!

Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb "I'm Haunted" ep

(Big Neck) Imagine your fave punk song ever played faster and sung slurrier! Stop fucking around and buy this record!

The Hussy "Stab Me" ep

(Eradicator) Floppily rocking garage trash that gave me hussy-fits!

Fat History Month "A Gorilla" EP

(Sweaters & Pearls) I'm sort of torn here. This record is called "A Gorilla" and it has a hand screened cover of a gorilla being awesome...and it's on banana colored vinyl! But I cant figure out what this slow, distortion heavy, meandering sorta-music is supposed to sound like, or why I'm supposed to like it. But that gorilla rules! OK, ultimately since I'm confused by the music rather than put off by it I'm going to put that in the plus column, and add that to the gorilla, and that makes this is "must have!"

Teledrone "Double Visions" EP

(Hozac) Sounds like the future! Circa 1978! But better than what actually happened. BTW, this genuinely awesome EP is not only perhaps Hozac's best 7'" ever, it's better than Foreigner's record of the almost-same name! And that record kinda rules.

E.T. Habit "Venemous" b/w "Starside Devastation"

(Hozac) Can E.T.'s magic healing finger cure a case of spiders crawling on my face or my tasting colors malady? Both of which psyche psicknesses were caught from this infectious frantic freakout of a forty five.

Death By Steamship "Facetious"

(Whoa! Boat) Should be called Death by PristineShit, because these power-pulsing, post punk provocateurs have their shit together...and they kill it!

Belt of Vapor "Buck" b/w "Genius/Failure"

(Whoa! Boat) Mathematical, pained and strained, thundering, bottom heavy misery core that pounds like a sledgehammer (and not a Galagher watermelon sledgehammer, but some John Henry shit!). These dudes are really good at rock, but I wouldn't want them to help me move...they might just rage-break all my furniture.

Plateaus "Do It For Me" b/w "Jasmine"

(Hozac) Hella good haze pop A-side and a majestic, creepy love song B-side make for the jukebox record of the year!

Cozy "Cola Shock Kids" b/w "Sugar on my Mind"

(Hozac) Bubblegum so flavorful you'll cheerfully chew your way to lockjaw!

Far-Out Fangtooth "The Thorns" EP

(Hozac) Scrambly, semi-dramatic, sometimes slow-ish, sub-psyche that sorta put me to sleep, but gave me amazing dreams.

Guntown "Chaos" ep

(Whoa! Boat) Should be called Funtown...if you have fun listening to driving ambitious indie punk with angst strained vocals and awesome drumming.

Wild Assumptions "Run Like You" b/w Roots"

(Plan-It X) Falling somewhere between 90s Olympia Riot Grrrl and a shoegaze LP played at 45rpm, this is...wild! I assume.

The Ember Song/Greyhound Jingles 45

(Numero) I don't ask why would Numero Group reissue black-audience local radio commercial jingles recordings from the 60s/70s era, but rather, why not box sets of noting but these? Why not a DVD of every Moo and Oink TV commercial featuring Richard Pegue jingles? Why not a Sidney Barnes "Ember Song" reissue that comes with a reissued Ember Furniture wood veneer bedroom set? Why not a Funtown jingle/Fun Town virtual reality amusement park ride helmet set? Hell, why not rebuild Fun Town in the Numero backyard? Keep up the work, guys!

Ceiling Stares/Super Vacations split single

(Velocity Sound/Sweaters and Pearls) Two slabs of sweet psyche from the East side of America, a/k/a/ wrong sounds from the Right Coast. I would have called the Ceiling Stares the Ceiling Stars, because listening to this jangle juiced voodoo felt like lying in bed as a kid and fixating on the glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling...which I guess involved staring anyhow, so never mind. Super Vacations are rave up psyche with  a touch of menace. Plus the single comes with a rainbow ink print insert that looks like it was made by a 6 year old with a potato...and the more 6 year olds and potatoes involved in the music scene the better!

Bobb and the Kidds "Take Me Home Vienna" EP

(Mighty Mouth) This reissue of some rare 1981 tracks by Bobb Trimble, a strangely sensitive sounding folkie/singer-songwriter, whose odd voice and artistic ambitions get his ultra-rare records classified as psyche, earning him a cult status that resulted in the eventual re-release of his private press materials. What's most intriguing about Trimble may be that for a while he assembled an all-little boy backing band, and while they were not incompetent musicians, their imperfection adds to the vulnerability of Trimble's work (think they are backing him on the A-side here, which is the weirdly wonderful title track). Plus, the photos on the sleeve of bob and his Bad News Bears backing band are AWESOME!

Thee Spivs "It's True" b/w "Taped Up"

(Almost Ready) Ye Olde Punk Rock, complete with Brit accents, snotty attitude, and a sprinkle of rage. Plus, they're cuter than the Adverts or the Lurkers!

The World's Lousy with Ideas Vol NEIN

(Almost Ready) The A-Side has Cheater Slicks sounding kinda maudlin, so lets consider the B-side the A-side and celebrate the bombastic blasts of thee Spivs and Ohio outcasts Psandwich singing like they just ate a psnot psandwich...which redundantly had mayo on it.

Liquor Store/Natural Child split single

(Almost Ready) Twin studies in pathologies: Natural Child sound like lackadaisical serial killers --- maybe they would get around to the butchery if there wasn't something so good on TV, and if the beer ran out. Liquor Store sound like the kind of crazies that would throw the best rooftop BBQ ever...then throw you off the roof!

Blood Buddies "Midas Medical Group" ep

(Razorcake) Riot Grrl spirit meets heavy assed rock n roll if L7 was singing about abortion rights or Kathleen Hannah joined Kyuss. Really good!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chinese Burns "Calculator" ep

(Windian) Though  a less lazy writer might fashion a long list of what makes this record so amazing, I'll lmit it to one: Despite being perfect practitioners of a retro rock aesthetic that combines Stooges/garage rock/VU/proto punk, etc., they eschew retro-ism lyrically, thus, you get '69 Iggy singing about e-mail and his computer desktop. BTW, if you were hoping this record contained that famous skit where the amused husband has circles talked around him by his daffy, dumb wife explaining why she ruined the rice, you are thinking of Chinese Burns and Allen, a totally different act.

Dead People "Feel the Light" ep

(Windian) Should be called "Knock 'Em Dead People," because this lo-fo, fuzz murk, New Orleans humidity-thick garage mess did, in fact, knock me out.

Poppets "1+1=2" b/w "Poolside Fun at Michael's"

(Windian) Sounds like Toy Dolls recording for K Records circa '91. In other words...awesome!

Chief Fuzzer "Transcendental Road Blues"

(Saustex) Hard 'n' heavy psyche with a Texas flavor infusion...meaning it's sounds like ti would feel if your brain fluid was replaced with BBQ sauce! Mmmmmmm!

Churchwood "Metanola" b/w "A Message From Firmin Deslodge"

(Saustex) Backwoods batshit trash rock so cerebrally stupid and intimidatingly sexy it gave me a raging church-wood! Though I'm too lazy to check past reviews, if I've made a similar comment every time I reviewed this band it's only because boners don't lie!