Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Continental #28, "Double Crown Records presents Seasonal Favorites Vol. 5," "Gruesome Twosome"


(, 2019-20) Having been out of the zine biz for a few years I have just not been hearing as many bands as I used to, and while there was a time I had a working knowledge of a nice chunk of the surf acts and garage rockers out there, those days are not these days. So dipping a toe back into one of my fave veteran zines, and checking out some comps the label put out, sent me a loud, reverb-heavy message:  There are, currently, so many bands...and so many of them are good! The zine has a fantastic Q&A with Insect Surfers, one of the first wave of surf revival bands in the 70s/80s, but every other band they interviewed and reviewed was new to me. Same thing with the comp that comes with the issue, except I knew zero of these bands. However, now I'm all about the no-fi garage of Teen Cobra, the trashy smash of the Sellwoods (both interviewed in the issue), the intense surf sounds of Wave Electric,  and the fuzzy spy rock of the (masked!) Bunny Ears (amongst others). Two recent holiday comps the label unleashed back when the world still had holidays introduced me to  a few dozen more. The Xmas comp has as good a surf "Jingle Bells" as you can get from the Cannibal Mosquitos, and a really solid sax-y "Auld Lang Syne" by MFC Chicken. But the highlights are the anti-X-Mas jams (in the Sonics tradition). While the Ogres screed against Santa was delightful, it was unconvincing (they sound like sweethearts who've never earned lump one of coal), but Pat Winn REALLY hates people putting up decorations early. While his song was pleasant,  and almost skiffle-ish (mostly 'cause he's got a Lonnie Donnegan accent)  and upbeat, it is seething with contempt. That's the spirit! Speaking of spirits, the "Gruesome Twosome" title of the Halloween/monster movie CD refers to Double Crown teaming up with the garage label Hidden Volume to curate this treat (or trick?). Thus, while we have some remarkably spooky surf and drag sounds (from the Blackball Bandits, and two great bands I actually know of, The Nebulas, and those veteran villains, Satan's Pilgrims), there are some diverse sounds here, including psyche and novelty rock, and straight up perfect trash rock. Interesting to note that most of the instrumental tracks would serve your haunted house/maze of darkness better than the vocal stuff, although the least spooky rockers are pretty specifically about monsters (including the Rebel Set's killer track about "The Tingler," and Hall Monitors' gangbusting good tune about a headless girlfriend). Teen Cobra's sideways cover of "Night of the Sadist" swithces it up to be about their fave snake, and is my fave snake on this great comp, and thanks to the zine and these comps, also my fave new band. Moral of this story: Old  Dog + New Tricks + Get's Treats.

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