Monday, October 31, 2011

Forgotten Rebels: Bomb Khadaffi Now (1985)

Who'd have guessed the foreign affairs positions tabled by the The Forgotten Rebels (more HERE) 25 years ago, would become the doctrine adopted by N.A.T.O., following the United Nations Resolution 1973 that authorized member states to take collective military action against now-deposed (and departed) Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Muhammad al-Gadhafi:

"All good Americans wanna fight
Bomb Khadaffi now
we could do it overnight
All good soldiers wanna fight
Bomb Libya
for the sake of human rights"

By posting this song, I mean no disrespect for the triumphant people of Libya, who are charged with monumental task of building a civil society from ruins, or even for the UN's sanctioning of N.A.T.O.'s military actions, which history may well vindicate. Rather, I just wanted to point out that all of the words used to describe The Forgotten Rebels over the years, this might be the only time a fitting adjective would be 'prescient'.

Track Listing:
A. Bomb Khadaffi Now
B. Surfin' On Heroin

What do you make of this song in light of the events of this past year? Let us know in the COMMENTS section (where you'll find the link for the Bomb Khadaffi Now 7")

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

V.A. Nobody Sings Dylan Like Dylan Volume 37

This multi-volume series features artists covering Bob Dylan songs. All of the tracks are recordings of independent origin (ROIO) and hence officially unreleased.

Compiler Jeffs98119 (check out his excellent blog HERE) is back, following a not-so-brief technological tangle, with another varied entry in this hopefully-endless series. As with many of the volumes, the series spans notable artist from all over the genre map from the last forty years. On this set we go from Martin Simpson to Arlo Guthrie to The Seldom Scene to Jackson Browne to Heart to Elvis Costello to Robyn Hitchcock to The Pretenders to The Waterboys to Uncle Tupelo to Jeff Buckley and The North Mississippi All-Stars. I can't claim to love every artist on that list but its breadth is compelling.

01 Masters of War - North Mississippi All Stars (Nov, 7, 2007,UB Center for the Arts, Buffalo, NY)
02 License to Kill - Elvis Costello (May 24, 2011, Beacon Theatre, New York, NY)
03 Knockin' On Heaven's Door - Uncle Tupelo (Jun 30, 1989, Cicero's, St. Louis, MO)
04 Senor - Donna the Buffalo (Jul 19, 2003, GrassRoots Festival, Infield Stage, Trumansburg, NY)
05 Subterranean Homesick Blues - Reckless Kelly (Feb 20, 2001, Henfling's Tavern, Ben Lomond, CA)
06 She Belongs to Me - Jackson Browne with Watkins Family Hour (Dec 21, 2010, Largo, Los Angeles, CA)
07 Maggie's Farm - Hayes Carll (May 24, 2009, Threadgill's South Austin, TX)
08 Mr. Tambourine Man - Robyn Hitchcock (Mar 12, 2011, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA)
09 Gates of Eden - Arlo Guthrie (Aug 21, 1987, the Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, CA)
10 It's All Over Now, Baby Blue - Seldom Scene (Aug 29, 2010, Theater At Lime Kiln, Lexington, VA)
11 Boots of Spanish Leather - Martin Simpson (Apr 9, 2010, The Met, Bury, UK)
12 You're a Big Girl Now - The Waterboys (Jul 1, 2011, Tall Ships Festival, Waterford, Ireland)
13 Ring Them Bells - Ann and Nancy Wilson (Nov 6, 1993, Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA)
14 Forever Young - The Pretenders (Jul 17,  2009, Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk, UK)
15 I Shall Be Released - Jeff Buckley (Date Unknown 1993, Sine Cafe, New York, NY )

Your COMMENTS on the series and the artists it covers help towards keeping the series alive!!

Thanks to Jeffs98119 for compiling these, to pdiamond for the images, to slugline for the spreadsheet and to Karl Erik Anderson @ Expecting Rain for tagging these for iTunes.

For V.'s 1-36 of Nobody Sings Dylan Like Dylan go here

Forgotten Rebels: In Love With the System (1980)

“It’s time that we be nice to each other. And if somebody’s acting out of line, he gets his ass kicked. Racism is stupid. People should listen to our music for what it is. I was making fun of rednecks in “Bomb the Boats”. More than anything, I was just making fun of that. But I guess it came across the wrong way."
Mickey DeSadest

The Forgotten Rebels (more HERE) first album, 1980's In Love With the System, showed off the offense-for-offense shtick that would define the rest of their career. In that way, I'm glad I heard the more starry-eyed, glam-pop-punk album "This Ain't Hollywood..." first and this album second. In Love With the System is an unsettling mixture of charging guitar, glorious hooks and the sort of crude, provocative irony that is now solely the  domain of Juggalos and right-wing radio hosts. Of course, back then most listeners, myself included,  took these gallow-humoured lyrics - most of which aren't really offensive at all - as satire. Not for a second, then or now, did I believe that an actual racist would write a line like, "they're commies, sub-human subversives, commies, they're human living curses." It's clearly the kind of dumb-yet-clever phrasing that marks an unreliable narrator. That said, some of the rough charm of this album's lyrical excesses may have been lost to time. Blame it one the inexactitude known as  'political correctness' or more likely just on the simple fact that our mores are ever-changing. Either way, this album remains a Canadian punk milestone, just one we now might have to explain before we laud.

A1        Bomb The Boats And Feed The Fish
A2        I Think Of Her
A3        In Love With The System
A4        The Punks Are Alright
A5        Rich And Bored
A6        Time To Run
A7        Fuck Me Dead
B1        No Beatles Reunion
B2        You're A Rebel Too
B3        I Left My Heart In Iran
B4        Elvis Is Dead
B5        Bones In The Hallway

MRML readers, do the lyric for songs like "Bomb the Boats" harm this album or not? Let us know in the COMMENTS section (which is where you'll find the In Love With the System link).

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Forgotten Rebels: Tomorrow Belongs To Us (1978-1980)

Before becoming a clearing-house for Band-related albums, Other People's Music was a Canadian label that re-issued tonnes of Canadian punk rock. Back in the nineties they put together this collection of vintage Forgotten Rebels (more HERE) material.

National Unity

3rd Homosexual Murder

Reich 'N Roll


You're A Rebel Too

In Love With The System

New Wave Girl

National Unity

Reich 'N Roll


Surfin' On Heroin

Own Little World

This Ain't Hollywood


Bomb The Boats

White Trash Of America

I Think Of Her

Fuck Me Dead

Elvis Is Dead

Tracks 1 to 4 from "Tomorrow Belongs To Us E.P.", 1978
Tracks 5 to 10 from "Burning The Flag" cassette, 1978
Tracks 11 to 14 from "Chris Houston Demos", 1980
Tracks 15 to 19 from "Ceder Lounge Live", 1980

MRML readers, if you want more Rebels rarities, keep filling up the COMMENTS section (which is where you'll find the  Tomorrow Belongs To Us link).

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Dot Dash: Spark>Flame>Ember>Dash (2011)

Washington D.C's Dot Dash's "Spark>Flame>Ember>Dash" (already discussed on Willfully Obscure and Shotgun Solution) lay out their M.O. in the perfectly-titled "That Was Now This is Then." Which 'Then' this album evokes, of course is trickier to define, as each member bring different things to the mix. Guitarist/Singer Terry Banks (ex-Julie Ocean) is in charge of bringing the R.E.M.-ish pop melodies, which he never fails to do. The rhythm section, bassist Hunter Bennett (also ex-J.O.) and drummer Danny Ingram (who is ex of both DC hardcore band Youth Brigade and UK shoegazers Swervedriver!) bring a slower, more measured post-punk sensibility à la Joy Division. Finally, Bill Crandall, who was in highly-under-appreciated eighties American mod band Modest Proposal, brings a Weller-like guitar-power to the mix. When all these forces come together on rockers like "No Reverie" Dot Dash gives us a big kick in the now.

The Beautiful Music


Friday, October 28, 2011

Forgotten Rebels: This Ain't Hollywood (1981)

 (2nd pressing cover)

Of all the early punk bands from the Toronto area*, The Forgotten Rebels are the one that I love the most. While this predilection can be kind of embarrassing at times (leader Mickey DeSadist's ghoulishly obscene lyrics can be cringe-worthy), the band did consistently write great songs, glam-damaged pop-punk songs so infernally catchy you'd actually have to clamp your hand over your mouth to not incriminate yourself by singing any of those scabrous lyrics in public.

* Like Teenage Head (see HERE), the Rebels are unashamed Hamiltonians.

  (1st pressing cover)

Seeing the band play two full-on rock n' roll blow-outs, first at a basement club called Wellington's and at a barn-like social hall named Le Rendez-Vous, all the way back in nineteen-and-eighty-and-four probably also accounts for some of my deep-seated affection.

Interestingly, I actually had the band's album "This Ain't Hollywood" long before those shows, long before I actually even listened to it. Back around 1982, my brother's girlfriend had been staying in a hotel somewhere in Ontario where the band were playing and they insisted on giving her a copy of their album. When she returned, she disdainfully passed the record onto my brother. We, as incipient music geeks, puzzled over it. We'd never heard of the band (they had precious little national media exposure at the time) and the low-budget pinkish sleeve didn't tell us much what to expect.


So for over a year that record sat unplayed in my brother's closet. Then, when compiling a mix tape, my brother dusted off the record and, his words, "blew a freak" over the song "Surfin' on Heroin'". The album became a source for our mix tapes for years to come and every person I know got to hear "Surfin' on Heroin", including my old friends who listened exclusively to classic rock radio. And they all loved it. It later became fascinating to me that this same cycle of exposure repeated itself all over the world. That song, with no radio airplay, became the band's calling card. It gives a a strange faith in the idea of the 'great song'. After all we needed no music critic, no DJ, no publicist to make us see SOHs greatness, it's just deafeningly obvious to any one who's willing to take the album out of the closet and listen.

Soon enough, I came to love the entirety of This Ain't Hollywood...This is Rock N' Roll. It's a glorious, occasionally cheesy (and long OUT-OF-PRINT) album by a band of Anglophiles who loved loud English rock n' roll be it deadly serious or a total goof. The Rebels were clearly smitten with the Sex Pistols AND the Dickies not to mention Mott the Hoople AND Gary Glitter. Give it a spin and maybe you'll love it too.

This Ain't Hollywood (1981)
Produced by Bob "Cowboy" Bryden
Star Records

Hello Hello
Tell Me You Love Me
This Ain't Hollywood
Don't Hide Your Face
Memory Lane
Surfin' On Heroin
Rhona Barrett
The Me Generation
England Keep Yer Stars
Eve Of Destruction
Your Own Little World
Save the Last Dance For Me
It Won't Be Long

MRML readers, I know opinions on Forgotten Rebels are divided, so let us know where you stand in the COMMENTS section (which is where you'll find the This Ain't Hollywood link).

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

NoMeansNo: Oh Canaduh/New Age 7" (1991)

Please click over to The Big Takeover for my review of NoMeansNo live.

Y'know in case I couldn't talk you into downloading any of the two gargantuan-sized NoMeansNo singles/comp tracks/live songs bootlegs (see HERE), then do not miss this exquisitely packaged 1993 single which contains the band's rip-snortin' cover of two seventies Vancouver punk classics; the Subhuman's "Oh Canaduh" and DOA's "New Age". Hell, even if you did take those, add this for the artwork alone (and add the chance to add these two tracks to your next playlist!)

This is, I believe, was the last NMN release to feature Andy Kerr. While the band did amazing work before his arrival and since his departure there is a fearsome intensity about the Kerr era that is hard to replicate.

Oh yeah all the crafty artwork is courtesy of punk artist John Yates who worked with Jello Biafra and briefly ran a label, Allied Records, which always looked stunning!

So what's your take on the Kerr era of NoMeansNo? Let us know in the COMMENTS section (where you'll find the Oh Canaduh/New Age 7"  link).

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Valkyrians (ft. TV Smith) Gary Gilmore's Eyes

Finnish ska/rocksteady band The Valkyrians have recorded an album of covers with the review-proof title of 'PUNKROCKSTEADY' that features a re-arrangement of The Adverts "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" featuring ex-Advert TV Smith on vocals.


Monday, October 24, 2011

NoMeansNo: Lost Tracks

Maddeningly, there is much overlap between this internet-curated bootleg of OUT-OF-PRINT NoMeansNo singles, comp tracks and live versions and the one posted earlier (see HERE). However, the sad truth is you need to collect 'em all, to get all these delicacies. And by 'delicacies', I mean songs like the band's a capella cover of Dead Kennedys "Forward to Death" and my absolute favourite rarity, the snarling rocker, "Ya Little Creep". Perhaps one days the men of NMN will compile these up for us and we can drag these acceptable-sounding MP3's into the recyle bin. Till then... "hunker down y'all..."

(Click to enlarge)

So what's your favourite NoMeansNo rarity? Let us know in the COMMENTS section (where you'll find the Lost Tracks link).

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

NoMeansNo: Rarities 1980-1995 (+ Top Ten Videos)

For my list of ten great NoMeansNo videos, 
please come visit The Big Takeover

In 1988 music sucked like an open chest wound. Mainstream radio neared one of its cyclical nadirs and the complete co-option of the underground by cheese-metal continued unabated. That was the year I bought Sex Mad in hopes that NoMeansNo would be 1-2 Fuck-You kinda punk band. No. NoMeansNo appropriated the insularity, anger and independence of hardcore punk but followed its rigid structures only momentarily before spitting out bursts of skronk-noise, bebop time-signatures, almost funky bass lines and a cappella breakdowns without notice. Sex Mad had the horrifying “Dad” (legend claimed a band member had been a battered child, though the black-humoured closing line made that doubtful) but it was, and remains, a musically and psychologically dense record. Since Sex Mad baffled me, I skipped their next two releases, Small Parts isolated and Destroyed, and The Day Everything Became Nothing.
However, in 1989 when NoMeansNo played at the legendarily grotty Royal Albert Arms I still had to go. Partly, I just wanted see what they looked like since, as with any good prog rock band, they didn’t plaster their LP’s with band photos. So, I’m standing by the stage, the air supply clogged with thick smoke and the stench of spilled beer, when this forty-something guy with grey hair (parted to the left) steps on the stage. I was sure it had to be some teenage runaway’s dad, since back then the Albert had a legendarily lax i.d. policy. When he approached the mike, I imagined him saying, “Suzy. I know you’re here. Your mother is really upset and we just want you to come home…” Then he strapped on a bass. Either he was going to serenade Suzy or…. Then the drummer took his place – not hidden behind the band but right on the frontline. Finally, a spastic-faced guitarist suited up and they tore off. That show remains amongst the most devastating performances I’ve ever witnessed. What we’ll call the classic line up (Andy Kerr on guitar and vocals, John Wright on bass and vocals and Rob Wright on bass and vocals) played a set built around the just-released album, Wrong. The set included, the tiniest, sliver of a guitar solo (preceded by an announcement), gut-wrenching bass playing and the most precisely articulated drumming of all time.

Caught in the band's clutches, I went back and purchased Sex Mad (again), no to mention the rest of their discography. Yes, I also bought the T-shirts, the posters and the stickers as well - merch was a habit back then. I also discovered that NoMeansNo were one of the few hardcore-associated bands that women could love (maybe it was the feminist inspired band name or that almost-danceable bass or...) and wanted to borrow the t-shirt you bought that first night…

I shall not drift too far into nostalgia here, because albums like Wrong are so powerful and jagged that no Little Chill sentimentality could dull them.

Whether Wrong is their high water mark or just another facet of their genius is a highly contested subject amongst fans and critics. Whatever side of the fence you fall on,  remember that their entire catalog is at once deranged and shining. So listen to this fascinating bootleg of OUT-OF-PRINT singles, comp tracks and live versions from the eighties and nineties and then go see them on tour and buy some music!

(click to enlarge)

So what's the best NoMeansNo album? Let us know in the COMMENTS section (where you'll find the Rarities link).

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

John Wesley Harding: The Sound of His Own Voice (2011)

"Bob Dylan is my father, Joan Baez is my mother"
And I'm their bastard son."
John Wesley Harding, "Bastard Son"

While English singer-songwriter-novelist John Wesley Harding ever plays down his Bob Dylan affection, after all he did take his stage name from Dylan's 1968 album, his critics have charged that he's so obsessed with Elvis Costello that he should have called himself Myaim Istrue. Well Wes' latest album The Sound of His Own Voice (Yep Roc, 2011), recorded with backing assistance from the Decemberists, Peter Buck, Rosanne Cash amongst others, doesn't so much end the debate on his influences, as make the entire question irrelevant. On this album, Harding's written and recorded what may be the cleverest, most tuneful batch of songs songs in a long, clever and tuneful career. Whether you hear strains of R.E.M., John Prine, James Taylor, Leonard Cohen, Nick Lowe, Billy Bragg, Robyn Hitchcock or even Costello and Dylan here, songs like "There's A Starbucks Where the Starbucks Used To Be" or "Sing Your Own Song" are bursting with a joyous originality all their own.


And check out this radio interview with Wes done by The Pop Culturalist.

Friday, October 21, 2011

XTC: Live at Paradiso, 1982


Hey, here's a cool XTC live bootleg from near the end of their performing career that I neglected to post with the last set of stuff from Swindon's finest. Much more XTC HERE!

Let us know what you think of this period of XTC in the COMMENTS section (where you'll find the Live at Paradiso link).

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Diodes: Survivors (1982)

While The Diodes created one of the sturdiest power-pop songs in the history of the Great White North, "Tired of Waking Up Tired", nothing else in their catalog quite approaches that height.

It's not that there's not other fine tracks in the band's oeuvre. Their cover of Paul Simon's "Red Rubber Ball" rips, "Teenage Nation" is a fine pop rallying cry and "Jenny's in a Sleep World" makes for a nice, moody ballad. Anyone's who's listened to their albums could name other good tracks but for a lot of us who weren't there at their Toronto club, The Crash n' Burn, back in '77 there's something audibly missing from their studio albums. Of course that something is probably the result of the lack of a sympathetic producer, record label or media outlet in the Canada of their times. If this band had moved to London, England earlier on, their legacy might be even greater then it is now. Of course, speculation now is of limited value, so let's just enjoy what we can with this OUT-OF-PRINT 1982 LP that compiles outtakes from the band's five year career.


When I Was Young

Hot Sands

Heat Or The Beat

Lost In The Dark

Burn Down Your Daddy's House

Curiosity Girl

Roses And Thorns


Play With Fire

let us know what you think of The Diodes career in the COMMENTS section (which is where you'll find the Survivors link).

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Bongo Beat


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Vapids: Teenage Head (2002)

On this OUT-OF-PRINT 2002 album ($65.00 on Amazon!), Hamilton's The Vapids bring a Ramones-core sensibility to their cover of the entire first Teenage Head (more HERE) album. Unlike Screeching Weasel, the Vindictives, The Queers and MTX (see HERE) who re-recorded the first four Ramones albums in their entirety, The Vapids are dealing with a lesser classic and hence we can have as much fun as they do with these revved-way-up frat-punk anthems.

let us know what you think of The Vapids take on Teenage Head in the COMMENTS section (which is where you'll find the TH link).



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Teenage Head: Heatwave Festival (1980)

I grew up under a promotional poster for Teenage Heads' Tornado that my older brother got for free from Pepper Records, a long since dead Winnipeg music store. The blurred images of the boys from Hamilton rockin' out never made me very curious about their music. In fact when they played at here at Wellington's in 1984, I was at the venue upstairs slamming to SNFU. Later, when I grew to quite like - but not exactly love - Teenage Head, I learned that Tornado was seen as their sell-out record. And not without reason. For that mini-album, they ditched much of their Flamin' Groovies worship, added slick sax and smooth arrangements and changed their fucking name. How is Teenage Heads, which sounds like a group of juvenile junkies to me, so much more radio-friendly than Teenage Head? And this sanitizing happened just after they had appeared playing their best song, "Ain't Got No Sense", in the sex and violence soaked dystopian 1982 horror flick, "The Class of 1984". The eighties were a weird time to have a recording contract.

So since my pal Midnight Rambler has generously posted EVERY out-of-print TH album over at the always-magnificent Sons of the Dolls, I'll offer up a bootleg of a professional  recording of Teenage Head's last-minute performance subbing for The Clash at the failed 1980 Heatwave Festival in Toronto. It's a great set and captures the band outside the clutches of the producers that usually compromised their studio work.

Let us know what you think of Teenage Head in the COMMENTS section (which is where you'll find the link for Heatwave).

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Dump Bin Blues: The Grace Babies: Frequency


A former co-worker and I once figure that one of the worst things to befall a musician was either to wind up in the dump bin or record the cliché blues album. Combining the two nadirs, we entitled an imaginary album, "The Dump Bin Blues". So, MRML's "Dump Bin Blues" series celebrates works obtained for less than two dollars out of one of the ever-growing dump bins that chew-up floor space in the ever-shrinking world of music retail.

The Grace Babies made me hate myself. Back in the mid-nineties, I thought I was writing some pretty hot power pop (non)hits and, in my arrogance, felt reasonably assured that some kind of notice of same would come my way. Then, straight outta Halifax, comes the Grace Babies second full length, Frequency and I'm forced by its glorious perfection to realize how far from my goal I am. Hell, in comparison to "Philosophy" I'm not even playing the same game as these Eastern seaboard cool cats.

Sure, it probably helps the Babies cause to have Todd Rundgren's biggest Northern disciple, Moe Berg, manning the boards but, c'mon, the triptych that opens things up ("Sick", "Wore Glasses" and "Philosophy") would've had to have been recorded on masking tape by Jandek in order to fail. O.K. maybe perfection is a bit of an over statement as things start getting somewhat bland towards the end (a couple of tracks after the token "punk" song "Drag It Out") but honestly this album needs to be a registered classic with the no-longer-Teenage-but-still-Fanclub set. So get up off the couch, put on your glasses and rock out to the band who let me know I'd missed it by a mile.

Thanks to CallPastorJerkface for the guest post.

Let us know what you think of these here Grace Babies in the COMMENTS section (which is where you'll find the Frequency link).

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Shell Corporation: Force Majerure (Full Album Stream)

Well the Occupy Wall St. music has started to dribble in and the verdict so far is that, while it's sure better then any of the music of the Tea Party has produced, its a still a little earnest and self-conscious. Now while LA vets The Shell Corporation (ex-members of Time Again, A Wilhelm Scream, Madcap, The Briggs, Le Mu Le Purr), followers of righteous politics of punk tradition of the MC5, The Clash, Dead Kennedys et al, recorded this album before these uprising began they have produced a brace of muscular, scream-along punk songs that might inspire anyone opposed to the concentration of power in the financial districts to fight on.

Here's the requisite video:


Hat tip: It's a **** Thing.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Viletones: Saturday Night/Sunday Morning (1983)

Roberto's Rarities:
irregular MRML series powered by the wild generosity of our reader, Roberto: Enjoy and don't forget to leave our benefactor a thank-you comment.

"In 1972 every band in the world was Grand Funk, now every band in the world is the Stooges."
Lester Bands in a 1981 Viletones review.
Yesterday (see HERE) we both rebutted and lauded Toronto's punk scene of the seventies, of which The Viletones were crucial players. The Viletones, led by singer Steven Leckie, were not quitters and kept their Stooge-punk sound alive through the mid-eighties and then roared back in the nineties. This live min-album kicks it hard and catchy and is made all the more impressive by how out-of-step it was for 1983.

A1         Outta My Mind       
A2         Nothin On You       
A3         Leave Me Alone       
A4         Possibilities       
A5         Dirty Feeling       
B1         Keep Running       
B2         Girl From My Past       
B3         Danger Boy       
B4         Last Guy In Town       

Recorded Live at Larry's Hideaway June 11 1983 with the Comfort Sound mobile studio.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Localism and its Discontents: A Regional Rant

Disclaimer: the following  diatribe, which hinterlanders the world over may relate to, is no way directed at the actual people of Toronto, just its cultural mavens.

Do all Canadians hate Toronto?

Not really but many of us outside the 416 area code do despise how Toronto's still-omnipresent media trumps up its culture, despite the fact that on a per capita  - and per government grant - basis it rarely produces its share of winners. It's like how the city's media still sells its hapless hockey team, the Toronto Maple Leafs*, as "Canada's Team", despite all evidence to the contrary. (Side note to my countrymen: If you need a survey to prove Canadians love the the Habs more then the Leafs, you may have taken a few too many pucks to the head). And the part that embitters us regional-types is that we all get inundated with whatever Toronto-based media is hyping, in the same way the CBC plays Leafs games on Hockey Night in Canada almost every damn Saturday night**.

This blatant localism can also be seen in almost any discussion about the seventies punk scene in Canada. Civic boosters (see this list) claim that while New York and London produced era-defining bands like The Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Ramones and Blondie, Toronto produced comparably great bands like The Viletones, Teenage Head, The Battered Wives, The Diodes and (close neighbours) The Demics. If some readers go, Who the Hell...?, you'd be forgiven. Despite having some truly excellent bands, some classic records and some legendary shows the influence of Toronto's punk scene is in NO way even slightly comparable to those cities, regardless of how you qualify it. So even though the more isolated, less moneyed Vancouver scene of the times spawned a far more influential set of sounds, T.O. punk pundits glorify it's modest accomplishments just like those damn Leafs!

It's this Torontonian insecurity, it's near-constant pleas to be seen as an elite, international city, that grates on so many Canadians. If Toronto's proponents, musical or otherwise,  looked at themselves with some steely-eyed realism, then they'd tell their stories in a way that would do their city proud.

So no, there's no Toronto hatred here, in fact I'd like to spend the next week or so celebrating the legacy of Toronto's original punk scene without any of that rose-tinted retro-hype that only diminishes the bands' actual legacies. Perhaps if I explained the Toronto's scene was a notch below Cleavland's storied scene, it might give a better sense of perspective on the city's worthy accomplishments. As long as I don't have to mouth any hyperbolic revisionism, I'd love to speak of the courage and innovation of the bands who slugged it out in in the sleazy underside of Toronto the Good.

So readers, was I too harsh on Toronto, too soft or did I just leave you baffled? Let us know in the COMMENTS section.

Tomorrow: The Viletones

* Of to a strong start this season, I'll admit.

**Yes, the internet age has lessened the stiffing influence of Toronto...a bit.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Small Talk Isolated and Destroyed: NoMeansNo Interviewed

I just transcribed a sprawling interviews with John Wright of NoMeansNo which is up at THE BIG TAKEOVER. I'd love all to you MRML readers to come by for a look (and maybe leave a comment or two!)


Monday, October 10, 2011

The Ex-Pistols: The Swindle Continues

I remember back in the middle eighties when the record racks were all of a sudden flush with semi-legit Sex Pistols records. For a band with one album the Sex Pistols section in Records on Wheels was fat with product. Obviously a lawsuit had been lost somewhere.

Early Sex Pistols producer Dave Goodman,  discussed previously HERE and HERE, is clealry behind this dog's breakfast which includes his early demo recordings of the real Pistols (Glen Matlock era) from 1976 plus a side of of oddities by his studio-created 'group', The Ex-Pistols. (Check out this documentary about Goodman, on You Tube in its entirety:)

1     Sex Pistols, The* –     God Save The Queen     3:34    
2     Sex Pistols, The* –     Problems     4:15    
3     Sex Pistols, The* –     Pretty Vacant     3:33    
4     Sex Pistols, The* –     Liar     2:43    
5     Sex Pistols, The* –     E.M.I.     3:15    
6     Sex Pistols, The* –     New York     3:05    
7     Sex Pistols, The* –     No Fun     6:59    
8     Sex Pistols, The* –     Anarchy In The U.K.     4:04    
9     Ex Pistols, The –     Here We Go Again     4:10    
10     Ex Pistols, The –     Silly Thing     2:54    
11     Ex Pistols, The –     Dancing On The Dole     2:33    
12     Ex Pistols, The –     Anarchy In The U.K.     3:38    
13     Ex Pistols, The –     Revolution In The Classroom     3:18    
14     Ex Pistols, The –     Judging Minds     3:03    
15     Ex Pistols, The –     Sex On 45     3:45    
16     Ex Pistols, The –     The Swindle Continues     3:11

So what do you make of this batch of Goodman curated Sex Pistols oddities and absurdities? Let us know in the comments section (where you'll find the Swindle Continues link).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Spazzys and Marky Ramone: Live, 2004

(Image taken from RamonetotheBone)

Hey come check out my top ten Spazzys videos over at The Big Takeover!!

Yesterday, we talked about the return of Australia's queens of pop-punk, The Spazzys' (see HERE) . Today, we're going to re-present to you a bootleg of the band playing in Sydney with Marky Ramone back in 2004. Marky's role in this show, aside from drumming, was to introduce all of the songs with this unbelievable stage banter which sounds somewhere between Paul Stanley and Wayne Newton - "We're gonna get some sun in California now" - and  thereby validates an iron rule of showbusiness, "Never let the drummer talk". All the rest of the music is provided by the Spazzys, with usual drummer Allly taking most of the lead vocals. Almost the entire set list consists of Ramones classics done with good spunk but the two exceptions, a take on Joey Ramone's version of "It's a Wonderful World" and the Spazzys own, very fitting, "I Wanna Cut My Hair Like Marky Ramone" really makes this a fascinating document .

Spazzys- Spazzys TV from agostino soldati on Vimeo.

(All great stuff here - but to see the Marky/Spazzys clip, skip to 9:37) 

 For lots more Spazzys on MRML go HERE!

 (photo courtesy of

Let us know what you think of this Spazzys-Ramones alliance in the COMMENTS section (where you'll find a link for either an MP3 or a .Flac version of the show).

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Spazzys: Dumb is Forever (2011)

After one of those soul-crushing legal battles that are a part of rock lore (i.e. Springsteen's forced inactivity in the mid-70's) The Spazzys have re-emerged with a newly released, Japanese-only, album titled Dumb is Forever. Definitely more of a power-pop (Cheap Trick division) album than a pop-punk one, this is still an ass-kicking, name-taking record. While a certain bitterness pervades the album ("Divorce",  "Dissolution Was the Only Solution, "Love = Pain") these rippling, melodic songs (check out the Fastbacks-like "Best Waves Ever") just exude a steely undaunted sound. Since these songs were actually recorded years ago, maybe we can now hope for a quick, rocking follow-up with international distribution. (For lots more Spazzys on MRML go HERE!)

Let us know what you think of this new Spazzys stuff in the COMMENTS section!

Support the band!